YOUNGSTERS at one school got a fantastic surprise from one of the latest Strictly Come Dancing contestants.

Pupils at Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy in Strensall in York received an unexpected treat when one of the stars of the BBC 1 show, Rose Ayling-Ellis, publicly thanked teacher Ellie Blackley’s Year 1 class on Instagram for their cards and messages of support.

The EastEnders actress – who was born deaf and uses British Sign Language (BSL) – scored a perfect 40 alongside professional dancer Giovanni Pernice in Hallowe’en week.

It is the earliest in the competition that the top mark has been handed out.

Part of Saturday’s dance was performed in silence, to give viewers a glimpse of what life is like for deaf people.

Ellie said: “Everyone in Team Blackley has been watching Rose from Strictly each week,” said Ellie. “We have all been learning to sign as a child in the class uses BSL. Rose is a fantastic role model for them. The children love watching her dance so much that they decided to make and send her some letters.

“The children were so excited to see their replies and couldn't believe it!”

Both Rose and partner Gio posted pictures on their Instagram accounts, which were picked up and featured in the Daily Express.

Rose wrote: “Thank you to Ms Blackley’s Year 1 Class. It is very adorable.” and showed a picture of her with the appropriately sparkly and glittery cards and holding her hands in a heart shape saying thank you.

Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy is part of Ebor Academy Trust, with seven schools in York and a further 14 across Selby, the East Riding and Hull and on the Yorkshire Coast.