As this strangest of school terms draws to a close we would like to thank our fabulous Catering Manager, Mrs Phyllis Street, and her fantastic staff for their support and dedication since we reopened. Lots of staff have had ‘shifts’ in the school, with Phyllis probably clocking more hours and days than everybody else and has also played a crucial role in supporting our charity initiatives.

We caught up with Phyllis for her thoughts on the term:

“The start of the spring term was quite a challenge trying to co-ordinate with the school about feeding the pupils of key workers and staff, and although I was able to provide a packed lunch for the first few days I felt, if possible, it would be better to offer a hot meal at lunch. At that point Curtis, our sous chef, joined me and we started cooking. The idea of providing a meal for some families of vulnerable children from our partnership primary schools soon came to fruition and before long Curtis and I were providing for 720 takeaway meals each week, plus 30 or so hot lunches in school each day.

On our return after half term I was delighted to welcome Tracy, Brenda, Ibrahim and Daniel back to help Curtis and me to cater for the returning Year 6 pupils and some Year 10 pupils. Before long we were providing hot lunches for just under 100 pupils and staff each day in school. We had to adapt to social distancing both as we worked around the kitchen and dining areas, but also when the pupils and staff came to lunch. With everyone spread out we had just about enough seats, although we could not allow the staff to have too leisurely a lunch as we needed their seats to be cleaned and sanitised before the next sitting came in.

We also continued to provide a takeaway ‘meal-in-a-bag’ service for families from the local primary schools and by the end of this week, we will have catered for somewhere in the region of 5,000 meals which we are all delighted to have been able to do. During this term I have kept in touch with the furloughed catering staff and all of them are really looking forward to coming back to school in September as are I and my ‘mini team’. We have all really enjoyed catering for the few who have come to school, but it will be wonderful to welcome everyone back in September.”

Admittedly, having one person sitting on every six chairs took some getting used to! However, it was worth it and we really appreciate the efforts of Phyllis, Curtis and the team for their outstanding and much appreciated ‘business as usual’ approach to what was a very difficult term.

Featured in the ‘mini team’ photo are those who have worked this term. Back Row: Ibrahim, Daniel and Curtis. Front row: Phyllis, Tracy and Brenda.