A SCHOOL has apologised after parents expressed outrage over a Christmas meal.

Students at Steyning Grammar School were given an unbuttered roll with a small slice of turkey, one pig in blanket and a piece of stuffing.

Pupils were also given a mini chocolate roll as dessert.

Parents complained that the festive lunch was not worth the £3.50 they had been charged per student.

One parent, Ian Northeast, said his two teenage children were left hungry after the meal.

He said, while students had chosen a less traditional Christmas dinner in a consultation with the school, the Turkey roll fell well short of expectations.

Ian said: "Initially I was in pure shock. It wasn't particularly festive.

"When we were told they were getting turkey baps, in my mind I was expecting the sort of thing you would get at a fair, with meat coming out of the sides and gravy to dip it in.

"The kids were disappointed but they found humour in it.

"From my side, it's not a lot of money but it's £3.50 a head, which is more than they would normally get for lunch at school.

"It wasn't enough to fill two teenagers - they literally got home and ate."

He said the school claimed that the majority of pupils had said they were enjoying the meal. However, Ian pointed out that students might be unlikely to complain directly to the headteacher.

A spokesman for Steyning Grammar School said: "Christmas meals are one of the many festive activities we offer at the end of term for our students to enjoy before the holidays.

"The Christmas meals served to some students yesterday, however, were clearly not in line with the high standards we set for our school caterers, and we apologise for this.

"Due to a combination of unforeseen supply chain issues and Covid-related staffing shortages, our planned offer was affected at very short notice.

"We are looking into this as a matter of urgency, and we have been liaising with students and parents to ensure any unsatisfactory Christmas meals are fully reimbursed."

Ian said he understood the reasons behind the disappointing meal, but wondered whether it would have been possible to hire temporary staff or a third-party contractor.

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