Cheering children greeted a kilt-wearing piper and a platter of “reekin” haggis during a Burns Night celebration at Terrington St Clement Primary School.
The visit by Ray Russell in the uniform of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment was arranged by headteacher Liz Hackett after she enjoyed a celebration of Scotland’s national dish and favourite poet last year.
Miss Hackett said: “We like to give as many new experiences to our children as we can.”
There was also a starring role for school cook Karen Portass who had the honour of ceremonially carrying in the prepared haggis to the sound of Mr Russell’s bagpipes.
Miss Portass prepared a themed lunch featuring Aberdeen Angus burgers and oatmeal biscuits but many of the 300 pupils were also happy to to try a taste of peppery haggis, along with the traditional accompaniments of “tatties and neeps”.
Miss Hackett said: “Even some children who can be quite fussy about their eating were trying the haggis. Youngsters now are quite used to going out for Indian meals and are quite into spicy foods.”
To prepare the pupils for their Scottish experience, a special assembly was held with power-point presentations about Robbie Burns. The assembly was shared on Skype with Terrington’s St Clements’ twin school in Nottingham.
Miss Hackett said: “As they came out of the assembly, Mr Russell stood at the entrance and piped them on their way back to their classrooms, which was lovely.”
Care was taken to prepare the littlest children, some as young as three, for the noisy skirl of the bagpipes. Older pupils had no concerns and seemed to especially enjoy the ceremonial slicing open of the haggis, she said.