Portsmouth Schools’ Cluster visit HMS St Albans
School children from Portsmouth were treated to a very special day on board one of the Royal Navy’s frontline frigates in Portsmouth Navy Base.
The children, who all have parents who are serving members of the Armed Forces, got an exclusive tour around the Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans, which is nicknamed the ‘Saint’, before she continues her duties as the Fleet Ready Escort for the Royal Navy.
Lieutenant Commander James Thompson, HMS St Albans’ Logistics Officer said:
“Today the children got a chance to see, touch and get a real feel for the environment where their Mums or Dads work. The Naval Families Federation organised the visit and work closely with a lot of local schools and their after school clubs. An opportunity like this gives the children a greater insight to what we do and how we live at sea. It explains a lot more than any phone call or video link, when we’re deployed.”
In total 32 children explored the inner depths of the ‘Saint’ as crew members took them around the bridge, operations room, and forecastle, and also to see some of the equipment they use every day. A popular activity for the children was the fire hoses, where they got a demonstration of their use.
Rachael Osborne, Head teacher of St Jude’s school said:
“This really is a great opportunity to see what their parents get up to when they are at work. We are always trying to improve the provision for our Service children, so it’s a good chance for us to see this environment as well. The children are remarkable and very resilient; they cope remarkably well with Service life. It’s been a fantastic day.”
NFF’s Regional Liaison Officer for the South East, Nicola, works with a cluster of seven schools in Portsmouth, which have a large number of Service families. She’s been instrumental in pulling the visit to the ‘Saint’ together and believes working in this way with schools could be beneficial across the country.
“Here in Portsmouth it’s proved very successful, with all the cluster schools working together. Everyone’s engaged and the children are benefiting from interaction during the visits. Some of the children have been on board other warships before and I’ve been amazed today how much some of them know and the questions asked. They’ve had a great time, it’s been fantastic and a big thank you has to go to the Royal Navy.”
But some of the school children were not just enthusiastic about what they saw. “It was really nice being on the ship, I liked the fire hose bit, it was awesome. My daddy works on this ship and I liked the control room and the biscuits” said Orin Walker (6) from Solent Infant School.