Teachers serve up meals in true Christmas spirit

TUCKING IN Just one of the many tables laid up for dinner.  Pictures: Malcolm Wells (114407-2525189)

TUCKING IN Just one of the many tables laid up for dinner. Pictures: Malcolm Wells (114407-2525189)

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THEY may be more used to serving up lessons and a daily dose of homework – but teachers at a school waited on more than 1,000 young girls to give them a Christmas feast to remember.

Head Sharon Watt and her staffroom colleagues at City of Portsmouth Girls indulged in a spot of role-playing when they treated a hall full of students to a traditional Christmas dinner – for free.

DISHING UP From left, Bridget Blakeley, Julie Pratt, Ellen French, Bev Sturgess, and Rose Baseley.  (114407-2644834)

DISHING UP From left, Bridget Blakeley, Julie Pratt, Ellen French, Bev Sturgess, and Rose Baseley. (114407-2644834)

Turkey, stuffing, vegetables, nut roast and a choice between trifle or Christmas pudding were on the menu for the 11 to 16-year-olds on their last day of term.

Mrs Watt, who was doing the rounds with a gravy boat in one hand and a jug of juice in the other, said: ‘It’s important to show we are all one big school community.

‘On occasions like that it’s not about status or position – it’s like a family all working together.

‘For us this event captures the spirit of the school. Sitting down and eating together is what any good family would do.’

The free Christmas meal was funded by the Friends of City Girls charity who worked throughout the year to raise more than £1,700 towards it, with additional donations from Asda and other local businesses.

This is the second time in three years that City Girls has put on the banquet-style celebration, which lasted more than two-and-a-half hours.

Mrs Watt said: ‘It was such a fantastic success last time that we wanted to do it again this year.

‘I am really proud of how well our school community has come together to make this a wonderful festive end to the term.’

Students and teachers said they enjoyed sitting down for dinner with their tutor groups, which is a rare occasion as most year 11 students eat off site, others have packed lunches and about 300 girls eat school dinners which have been provided by ABM catering since September.

Nadia Sylla, 11, added: ‘It was fun to have dinner with my tutor group and be able to chat to my friends.

‘It made me feel really Christmassy. I am lucky to be at City Girls because none of my friends at other schools got to do anything like this.’

Claire Abbott, PE teacher, said: ‘In all of the schools I’ve worked in, this is the first time that I have ever had the opportunity to have a Christmas meal with my tutor group.

‘It really enhanced our sense of family.’

Lee Miller, who organised the meal, added: ‘An event like this takes a lot of planning and commitment from our staff but it’s worth it.

‘Staff have worked really hard to make the day a success for all and it’s obvious how much our girls and staff enjoy it.’

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