A school has apologised after images of its Scrooge-like Christmas lunch went viral on social media, prompting comparisons with a trial from I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!
Steyning Grammar School and Sixth Form College, in West Sussex, said it would refund the cost of the meal after complaints from parents.
Some parents with children at the school shared photographs of the lunch on a local public Facebook group.
Group members described the meal as “foreskin on a dry bap”, “Soylent Green and something left over from A-level anatomy” and “lichen on dry bread”.
Ciaran Walsh, a sound designer from Steyning whose two daughters attend the school, tweeted a photo of the lunch, taken by his elder daughter, which shows a dry white bap topped with a slice of turkey, a single pig in blanket, a small rectangle of stuffing, and a store-bought mince pie. It was served to her on Tuesday.
His tweet to Bohunt Education Trust, which runs the school, said: “Thanks for the Christmas lunch served to our kids at Steyning Grammar yesterday, really filled them with festive cheer!”
Walsh, 46, compared the meal, which cost £3.50, with the sandwiches served at the infamous Fyre festival in the Bahamas in 2017.
He said his daughter only ate the mince pie, adding: “The impression I got was that most of this stuff went in the bin. For most of the kids, there was this sense of disbelief that that’s what they got.
“You want your kids to have the best and Christmas is a time when a special meal is part of that, and this wasn’t special in the right way.”
Walsh said the standard of food at the school was generally better than the “grim” Christmas lunch.
The school initially defended the meal in an email to parents, claiming “the overall feedback from students was that they really enjoyed it and this was evidenced by the empty plates and happy faces”, adding that there would be no refunds.
But after images of the meal went viral on Twitter, the school sent out a further email offering parents an unreserved apology and refund.
A school spokeswoman said the food was not up to the high standards expected of their caterers due to unforeseen supply chain issues and Covid-related staffing shortages.
She added: “We have now investigated this isolated matter fully and have apologised to all students and parents affected, together with providing a full refund.”
Walsh said he sympathised with the school but added: “It obviously took a lot of people saying it wasn’t OK for them to acknowledge that, which is a shame.”