Students go the extra mile to help rough sleepers

Pupils and teachers with Deputy Mayor Lee Mason with gifts for the homeless 'Picture: Habibur Rahman
Pupils and teachers with Deputy Mayor Lee Mason with gifts for the homeless 'Picture: Habibur Rahman
Alan Mak MP with Park Community School headteacher Chris Anders at the Tes Awards parliamentary reception

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PUPILS at a school in Portsmouth have shown that Christmas isn’t equally about giving presents as it is receiving them.

The students of Mayfield School have put together a number of Christmas hampers, which were collected by the Society of St James.

As well as donating the gifts for the city’s rough sleepers, the students have also spent some time in class learning and discussing the struggles that homeless people face on a daily basis.

Every tutor group at the school spent time putting together a Christmas hamper, each putting their own unique spin on the contents inside.

At the culmination of the project, as the Society of St James came in to collect the hampers, they also delivered an assembly to the pupils, explaining the impact that the hampers will have on rough sleepers this Christmas.

The school has an ethos that focuses heavily on charity work and supporting the community, which teacher Patrick Quirke says was key to the success of the charity drive.

He said: ‘We decided to do this because, as a school, we are passionate about helping homeless people.

‘This is the first year we have done the Christmas hamper appeal at the school.

‘We invited the Society of St James to the school, and said we would do something to support them for Christmas.

‘Each tutor group has done a Christmas hamper, containing things homeless people need over the festive season.

‘The students have been really generous with their donations – the response has been so positive, with pupils taking a real interest.

‘Every one of them has been outstanding.

‘It has always been a part of the school’s ethos to be involved in serving the local community, so I think that is why it has worked so well.’

Pupil Oliver Hammond, age 15, said: ‘It was a nice thing to do – it had such a big impact compared to how much we had to do.

‘This made me realise just how privileged I am.’

Mia Gomez, age 16, said: ‘The whole school came together and did this.

‘It is really special and shows everyone was united helping others, whether we knew them or not.’

Headteacher at Mayfield School David Jeapes said: ‘We are so grateful for all of the donations that our community have made.

‘This has been one of the most successful years at Mayfield in terms of charitable work and we look forward to supporting more local charities in 2018.’