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To expect children have enough to eat?

(58 Posts)
gillybob Mon 25-Feb-13 12:41:04

Apparently some children are being sent to school with a "lunch" of a few cold chips or a packet of biscuits.

Should this really be going on in 2013? Are we heading back to the dark ages?

glassortwo Mon 25-Feb-13 12:56:22

I haven't read the link yet but what happened to free school meals.

I was surprised to find out that if a parent applies for a free meal the school is then given an amount of extra money even if that child has free meals for 1 week. Our Head has started a campaign to get families who should be getting free meals to apply, and then both the children and the school benefit.

gracesmum Mon 25-Feb-13 13:01:08

I do not personally think it is really to do with cost - toast and jam doesn't cost that much, a bacon bap OK a bit more and porridge (shock horror!) is dirt cheap. And whatever happened to Readibrek ?(apologies for the spelling)
I think it is the mentality within some families and the "permissive" grazing attitude that says that if children want a packet of crisps, let them have it. Our school used to do breakfasts for the students - bacon and toast was popular and then it was stopped because of "staffing costs"
It is appalling and such parents are guilty of neglect, IMHO angry

glassortwo Mon 25-Feb-13 13:03:55

I thinks it down to laziness on behalf of some parents that they will give a child a packet of crisps rather than cook something. You can cook something much cheaper than you can buy junk food and carry outs.

glassortwo Mon 25-Feb-13 13:08:30

Or are we back to the same argument at school they are not given the skills to do so! sad

FlicketyB Mon 25-Feb-13 13:12:10

The fact that we expect children to be properly fed, clothed and cared for does not mean it always happens. There are a large number of idle, addicted, or incompetent and uncaring parents around. There always have been, there always will be.

Unfortunately it is the school who pick up these problems and are then expected to deal with them. The problem is the more meals that are supplied at school the less the failing parents will do for their children.

annodomini Mon 25-Feb-13 13:18:15

The better fed the children are, the better they will perform and therefore the better the school's position in the performance tables. A simplistic analysis, I know, but there is something in it. Many schools do provide breakfast clubs which should be unnecessary but which are well attended.

gillybob Mon 25-Feb-13 13:30:39

I think the article is mainly referring to children's lunch boxes. My GC mainly have school dinners although not sure about the quality for the price. Occasionally they have a packed lunch however the school are quite strict with what they will allow in the contents. No chocolate or biscuits allowed.

I think it is about time all children had free school meals and wonder what the actual cost of this would be.

I agree with you FlicketyB but that is not the poor child's fault is it?

I know a teacher in an extremely deprived part of Newcastle who starts every morning with a round of toast and fruit generously donated by local businesses.

gracesmum Mon 25-Feb-13 13:33:27

I am also not sure we should necessarily be looking to schools to impart basic information like "Give your child a meal" Certsinly not blaming them for the shortcomings of selfish parents who do not appear to have a clue. But school Home Ec. never taught me anything of future use - nor, except by example did my sainted mother. OK who is to teach young people then? Well I suppose it does come down to some sort of Home Ec. (and I DO NOT mean "home technology) or parentcraft/basic survival /nutrition etc education. But what an indictment of society.

gillybob Mon 25-Feb-13 13:55:14

I think breakfast clubs are a really good idea for younger children especially if both their parents are working.

JessM Mon 25-Feb-13 14:22:19

Number on school dinners is used as an indicator of poverty/deprivation. Hence the extra money per head if a child is registered for FSM.
It is not always lack of money - it is lack of having your act together as a parent for whatever reason. Little boys given £5.oo in the morning and spending it all on superacridacidgobstoppers was my biggest shocker when visiting before school.

gillybob Mon 25-Feb-13 14:25:26

Are you saying the number on any school dinners JessM or just free?

I cannot see how a child having a (paid) school dinner equals deprivation quite the contrary I would say. confused

Jenner Mon 25-Feb-13 14:36:33

I think it's a sad reflection on a 1st world country that this debate should even raise it's head. As someone who cooked school meals for over 20 years and was responsible for planning, purchasing and preparing nutritious meals for over 400 children everyday, they were always enjoyed by the children and deemed very good value. Everything was made from scratch, fresh vegetable, fish, meat was always served. I like to think that my contribution made up for the shortcomings of parents who didn't or couldn't cook. Very few children brought packed lunches and our lunches were far ahead of the times (aka Jamie Oliver).
Since then I have travelled overseas extensively and met parents who cook fresh vegetables and rice each morning so that their child would have a nutritous meal each day, they were poor but knew the importance of giving their children nutritious food. I'll stick my neck out and say that a parent who sends their child to school with crisps and biscuits for lunch is just plain lazy.

LullyDully Mon 25-Feb-13 14:40:22

The schools get extra money for every child on free dinners as it is a rough marker to poverty within a family.

When I taught we had several children who had a 'sneeky' breakfast because of their inadequate parents. Hunger affects behaviour and it is long time to lunch if haven't eaten since the previous lunch!!

gillybob Mon 25-Feb-13 14:41:28

I agree with you Jenner it is sad. Mind you I often wonder what planning goes into the school meals at my grandchildrens school. Both of my GD's love good food. they are not great meat eaters (although not veggies as such) they love vegetables, rice etc. Sometimes when I see what is on the menu or more often than not what is left when my eldest eventually makes it into the dinner hall at 1pm I am quite frankly shocked !

Barrow Mon 25-Feb-13 14:43:13

Not being a parent myself I may be sticking my head above the parapet here but just how long does it take to pour some milk over a bowl of cereal?

I came from what could be described as a deprived background but always had breakfast before leaving for school (the dreaded porridge!) and my mother worked full time in a factory meaning she had to leave home early in order to get the bus to work (no car). She would make the porridge before leaving and my brother and I would heat it up once we were out of bed

grannyactivist Mon 25-Feb-13 15:03:25

There's a wonderful charity that provides free breakfasts in schools, for children who otherwise wouldn't (for a great many reasons) eat before lessons begin. Some friends and I are on a sponsored 'healthy eating' plan to raise money for this (and another charity called Mary's Meals).

vampirequeen Mon 25-Feb-13 15:12:48

I've seen some awful packed lunches. Try telling a parent that two bars of chocolate, a packet of crisps and a fizzy drink doesn't constitute a proper lunch then brace yourself for the abuse.

But even worse is the parent who sends nothing assuming that we wouldn't leave a child to starve.

vampirequeen Mon 25-Feb-13 15:13:27

Sorry my grammar is all over the place today blush

TerriS Mon 25-Feb-13 18:09:24

Obviously this is a contentious issue that is open to a great degree of subjectivity about what is healthy and what is not. I do remember when my youngest was in Year 2 and was/is - like all my children - a 'skinny tin ribs' with a ravenous appetite and energy levels that knows no bounds. Anyway, she eats a healthy, varied diet with little 'junk' food and one day I gave her a Cornish pasty in her lunch box. Not a cheap, mushy one but a 'proper' pasty from a Cornish baker's. She came home and told me that her teacher had said that in future she was to bring a 'proper' lunch and that a pasty wasn't sufficient! We did laugh - I can't imagine a Cornish miner complaining that a pasty wasn't sufficient food! She carried on taking pasties....

Bags Mon 25-Feb-13 18:24:41

terris, smile. Nice story. That teacher needed to learn a thing or two.

JessM Mon 25-Feb-13 18:32:43

Under the Oliver inspired school food police rules a fried egg bap is not considered appropriate breakfast. it has to be griddled.
Many primary schools in our borough do not have kitchens and the FSM kids get a sandwich.
The physical amount of food you get in a cooked "school dinner" these days is quite small. A slice of pizza and some salad is a snack for a teenager not a meal. They are still obliged to serve a "dessert" as part of a school meal, so some of the meagre expenditure goes on that.
When I was a teacher the really hungry boys used to wait til the last serving so they could get seconds or even thirds. Don't get that opportunity these days.

nanaej Mon 25-Feb-13 18:40:13

Sorry..why exactly is it a school's responsibility to teach children to cook and have a balanced diet? Rhetorical question..I know the answer!

In the schools where I was head we did what we could via lessons /breakfast club, adult ed etc but really parents are responsible for this.

I think my understanding of meals and their preparation came from my mum and grandmothers. I did do some home crumble, baked apple and shepherds pie as I recall..bit limited but cheap!

POGS Mon 25-Feb-13 19:40:51

Jess M

May I ask which Education Authority do you reside within?.

You don't have to answer if the question is too personal.

I am just interested as you say many primary schools in your borough don't have kitchens and the free school meals children have a sandwich. Presumably all the pupils have sandwiches or cold lunches.

Deedaa Mon 25-Feb-13 19:54:05

Do tell JessM how do you griddle an egg? I can't think of any way that would be edible confused

In spite of both his parents working full time my GS has always had a big breakfast - his best mealo of the day really- and my daughter has always found time to bake cheese scones or cheese straws or similar for his lunch box.