28/11/2011 07:19 GMT

Harry Potter 'Hogwarts Banquets' To Teach Table Manners To Poor Pupils

An academy in Grimsby is hosting Hogwarts-style banquets to teach pupils from one of the poorest areas of the UK how to use a knife and fork.

Havelock Academy, which is run by staff recruited from the armed forces, puts on a feast in their newly-renovated dining hall once a fortnight. The room is complete with long benches reminiscent of those in famous hall in the Harry Potter series and sees 900 of its students dine on shepherd's pie and fish and chips pupils more used to eating off their laps.

Nicholas O'Sullivan, principal of the academy, told the Sunday Times: "It was clear the experience of a number of these children at home was a television dominated, on your feet, relatively fast-food experience.

"The idea for banquets wasn't part of a programme per se about telling you to use a fork - that came accidentally."

The dining hall at Christ Church College, Oxford, made famous as the Hogwarts hall in Harry Potter.

The meals were initially intended to promote a sense of community but highlighted a lack of table manners which many of the pupils had, including an inability to use cutlery.

The academy, which is sponsored by co-founder of Carphone Warehouse David Ross, believes encouraging children to have sit-down meals improves their confidence and self worth.