Gransnet forums


School lunches/dinners

(22 Posts)
NanKate Fri 14-Mar-14 11:50:48

There was an excellent letter in the Daily Mail today about school lunches and how the children are given too much choice.

She suggested a stew or pasta meal but realised that there would be complaints that the food choice did not take into consideration cultural requirements. Her answer to this:

'you have chosen to live in England presumably because English culture has much to offer. There is plenty of scope for trying recipes of various countries, but as a general rule, fussy children can learn to eat if they are hungry'

I agree wholeheartedly but I suspect I have opened the floodgates !

My only change in her letter would be to say UK and not England.

JessM Fri 14-Mar-14 12:26:22

confused not clear what you are actually saying nankate.
Of course schools have to take into account religious objections to certain types of meat and some children are vegetarian and do not eat meat at all.
Makes having pork casserole a bit problematic really.

NanKate Fri 14-Mar-14 14:14:42

I think my point is that at some schools children have such a choice of meals at lunchtime that a lot will be wasted and if it was reduced down to a few options it would save money and hopefully make children less fussy.

Having said that one of my grandsons has an allergy to eggs, so I can see there would be a problem for him.

I think the food situation at school is not an easy one to solve. I think Clegg wants to offer free meals, but someone would have to pay.

No wonder I am not a politician far to problematic for me.

NanKate Fri 14-Mar-14 14:15:53

Far too not to !

ginny Fri 14-Mar-14 15:29:59

One meat , one vegetarian ? Or is that too simple. I'm afraid I don't agree with giving all children a free meal.

goldengirl Fri 14-Mar-14 16:24:32

I have a sign in my kitchen which states: Dinner Choices 1. Take it 2. Leave it.
Today's meals seem so complicated. When I was at school our choices were the same as my sign. All this choice makes for fussy eaters. I agree with ginny one meat and one vegetarian. Simple!

Ariadne Fri 14-Mar-14 17:07:51

There is a difference, is there not, between religious / cultural demands and choice, isn't there?

You have to consider religious dietary rules, surely? You can't just say "you chose to live here" and so on - some families have been here for many generations! And there are so many allergies - nuts, for example, which have to be catered for.

Keep it simple, by all means, but without discrimination.

dogsdinner Fri 14-Mar-14 18:36:56

At my gs's school the choice is just what Ginny said, a vegetarian or a meat dish. You have a menu at start of term and if you don't like the meals you take packed lunch. Seems to work.

Aka Fri 14-Mar-14 19:06:07

ginny & goldengirl agree. Too much choice these days. If they're hungry they'll eat it, if not hungry, they will be when the next meal is due.

rockgran Fri 14-Mar-14 19:47:16

At my grandson's school in the Falklands they all have to go home for dinner. No school dinner, no packed lunches, no playground available. Problem solved!

bikergran Sat 15-Mar-14 16:23:11

Mmmmmmmm always loved the chocolate cake/pudding mmmm and if there was any left over the dinners ladies would come outside into the playground and give it out (I was always waiting near the door lol)of course they would be horrified to do such a thing now due to elf n safety!

Mishap Sat 15-Mar-14 22:09:39

The new free school dinners for early years is going to create no end of problems as the amount of money the school receives to pay for those meals will be based on a head count on 2 particular days, 6 months apart. If any of the qualifying children is away on those days, the schools have to pick up the tab!!

Aka Sat 15-Mar-14 22:56:51

I thought the meals were to be free for all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils? And if schools are catering for the numbers 'on their books' there's always a bit of leeway with portions.

I'm surprised this is not being seen as A Good Thing confused

Ana Sat 15-Mar-14 23:04:47

I thought Nick Clegg wanted free school meals for all primary school pupils, not just years 1 & 2.

ginny Sun 16-Mar-14 08:25:40

Aka Yes a good thing for those whose families really can't afford a decent meal but surely otherwise it is the parents responsibility to make sure their children are fed properly ?

nightowl Sun 16-Mar-14 08:39:40

I would want to know exactly what went into those meals; for example, is halal or kosher meat being used? I'm afraid that would be against my principles. Are the ingredients fresh and are the meals cooked on the premises? I have no more faith in schools to provide a healthy/ appropriate meal than I would have in any large scale catering operation confused

gettingonabit Sun 16-Mar-14 09:11:50

I think there should be three choices:

1. School dinner.

One choice main course plus pudding.

2. Packed lunch.

3. Go home, where you can be fed what you like!

Mishap Sun 16-Mar-14 09:52:40

Small rural schools will find this a problem - they are obliged by law to provide these meals for the relevant ages groups, but, as I have said, have to pay for those who weren't there on the "count" day. It seems mad - why they don't just look at the number of children on the school register I do not know! The other problem is that outlying schools in the main have no kitchens and struggle to find a supplier. If they do manage to find one, they will be charged for transport and there is no allowance for this in the price per head for the meals that the government has set. Budgets in small schools are very very tight as they have the same overheads but less income.

Anther law that has good intentions but has not been thought through.

rosesarered Sun 16-Mar-14 14:35:42

I don't remember much [any] choice for school dinner BUT we were all white/English/UK children, so no cultural differences, or religious either. That made it easier I suppose.Do you remember cheese pie? I loved that, and there was always seconds as so many kids didn't much like it.Yes, I remember the choc sponge pud too [served with pink custard.]I liked most things back then and was always ready to eat because we were all so active.We were not used to having any choice at home, it was just put in front of you, so our generation was not picky with food. There's a moral in there somewhere.

durhamjen Sun 16-Mar-14 14:52:18

The vegetarian choice is always cheese. My grandson eats fish but not meat or cheese, except as part of a pizza, the cheese that is.
Luckily he does not go to school any more, but his mother resented paying £2 a day for him to have pizza or a tuna sandwich - every day for a term.

Anne58 Sun 16-Mar-14 14:58:14

There is of course another issue here, especially with smaller rural schools and that is space! Not all schools will have an area that will allow all the children to eat at the same time. Plus many smaller or rural schools have to use their dining space for other activities, such as PE or (in the case of our village primary) at least part of it as a classroom.

durhamjen Sun 16-Mar-14 15:00:35

For two years in Durham they had free school meals for years 1 and 2.
When the Tory government came in they stopped it, and reduced the amount they gave back to the council from council tax so they could no longer afford it. How strange they want to bring them back now. Could there be an election next year?