Students at a Portland school will receive a top up on the value of the food vouchers given to cover this year’s Easter break.

Thanks to the generosity of Portland Town Council, some 269 pupils at Atlantic Academy will receive an additional £2 per week to fund their Free School Meals (FSM) during the holiday period.

It means vulnerable families will receive £34 in total to spend on food, per child, instead of £30.

Lesley Bishop and Melissa Heppell, principals at the all-through school, praised the community spirit shown by Portland Town Council.

Mrs Bishop said: "We are very grateful to Portland Town Council for the kindness and generosity shown to our students.

"The decision to provide an additional £2 per week to our most vulnerable students to fund their meals during the Easter Holiday will make a significant and positive impact. It means parents or carers can buy essentials such as cereal, bread, butter, pasta and fruit.’’

Ms Heppell added: "The decision by Portland Town Council to provide a top up is a fantastic example of community spirit and shows how kindness can go a long way during this very difficult time. It means our most in need students are being fed and they have access to food. It also means the pressure has eased off their families and so everything then becomes a little bit easier at home if parents or carers know they are not struggling to feed the children in their care.’’

Atlantic Academy has always sought to support its vulnerable students. In 2018 the school took part in an initial pilot scheme in conjunction with the National Schools Breakfast Programme. This led to free bagels handed out in the morning for all primary students and also for any secondary students who wanted them. The initiative was a welcome boost to learning for students with an increase in concentration, engagement and attitude.

During the first lockdown, Atlantic was fortunate to continue to receive this free provision and we provided a weekly delivery to those families who qualify for Free School Meals (FSM) by minibus around the island between April and August last year.

The scheme has continued during this academic year with a collection at various points on the island each Monday.