to think even Gove wouldn''t ban packed lunches

(433 Posts)
kim147 Fri 12-Jul-13 07:30:29

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23270715

Granted I have seen some crap packed lunches in some schools. But to ban packed lunches?

Unless they were considerably cheaper, I can't see how they can do this. And as a teacher, I don't want to police lunch boxes.

LondonJax Fri 12-Jul-13 09:05:57

I emailed the education department back in February when these consultants (who run a chain of upmarket fast food restaurants - call me cynical but you have to wonder if they'll sneak in with a healthy eating ready meal range for schools eventually...) first came into the news with the idea of a ban on packed lunch. I have a reply that says they are not planning a ban in any way, shape or form. I'm keeping the email and it'll come back to haunt them if they try it.

I have a friend whose child is autistic. He has to have a packed lunch because he can't cope with a changing menu - even going on holiday is hard for him as he's surrounded by strange things so making a choice each day is very difficult for him. This child even brings his own sandwich to a party because his sandwich has to be made a certain way. He eats the same hot meal at home every day of the week and it has to be a particularly brand. He's not picky, he has a recognised disability and many autistic children equally want the same food day in, day out. One lady who went to a workshop for the parents of autistic children told my friend that her son has had a burger every day of his life for dinner. He is now 15 years old and she's just managed to wean him off. His specialist told her not to worry about it - just feed him. If you ban a packed lunch for children like this you leave schools open to disability discrimination issues and children open to bullying as they stand out.

In our DS's case, with his heart condition, it was important for us to make sure his lunch was calorifically higher than most children would have. He didn't have sweets or cake but we'd up the amount of butter and cheese and add an extra yoghurt for example. Heart children use more calories sleeping than a child with a normal heart, for example. We also needed to know if he was eating properly. With a packed lunch, that was possible as the remains are returned. One of his symptoms of a potential issue with his condition is a diminishing appetite.

Now he's been at the school for almost two years, he and we have had taster sessions of school lunch, we understand the system for ensuring the kids eat as much of the meal as possible and the school dinner helpers know his heart condition and that he needs to eat well, he's now has a cooked school lunch. His choice and he enjoys them.

There are also people who prefer packed lunch to asking for free school lunches. My mum did that with us as the free school lunch system when I was at school was awful and really stigmatised a child. At our school now I have no idea who has free lunch - which is quite right. But it'll cost the Government a fortune to pay for free lunches for those parents who currently do a packed lunch because they can't afford the £2 plus per day.

School dinners are fab at our school, all cooked on site, loads of variety, really nice dinners with just the right sized portions. Small school too so Jan our head dinner lady knows all the kids and helps the little ones with trying new foods etc... Just wish I could afford them more often. Theres a very high up take of FSM here but we don't qualify - (though on bones of arse!) and I cant stretch to the 2.20 a day each for two kids. £22 is triple the cost of pack lunches for me.

No way would I give up packed lunches or my kid wouldn't get lunch. She's tried them and hated them. She's not fussy she just doesn't like bland, mushy shite. How can nothing be better than even junky packed lunches?

I make them as healthy as I can, water, sandwich in home made bread, I make muffins/flap jacks/cakes and freeze. She likes chicken drum sticks, hummus and stuff to dip and she eats her lunch. No more slips coming home to say she hasn't. And as she's dairy free she wouldn't get a pudding most days at school either.

littlewhitebag Fri 12-Jul-13 09:12:42

I think that in state schools, if they want all kids to have a cooked lunch, then they should be paid for by the state. This is what happens in Finland and all the children and teachers eat together. However, i know this is very unlikely to happen.

Nanny0gg Fri 12-Jul-13 09:13:56

I think on certain matters the govt needs to mind its own business. If parents (for whatever reason) want their children to have a packed lunch, then that's what should happen.

Or will they start policing breakfast and dinner too?

Chocotrekkie Fri 12-Jul-13 09:19:51

Last time I let mine have a hot school dinner my 8 year old had 3 huge slices of pizza, 3 helpings of fried roast potato things, 2 slice of bread (it was brown. = healthy!) 2 portions of apple crumble & custard and then extra custard. Oh and god knows how much orange juice.
Every time she finished they asked her if she wanted more.
What size would she be if she had that every day (and yes she was looking for dinner when she came home "starving")

Her sister had half of 1 slice of brown bread (no crusts) and half a cup of of pink milk (she didn't eat the rest). No-one bothered.

I only knew because I am a governor and was doing a "health & safety at lunchtime" visit as their had been a few issues.

They take packed lunches now - I don't want to pay £20 a week when I can do a decent, well balanced lunch for half of that.

I have been told its now a lot better - still need to go and see for myself.

soverylucky Fri 12-Jul-13 09:21:45

They are not going to stop obesity by making kids have a school dinner. They can still have a can of pop and a greggs sausage roll on the way to school, a pack of crisps and a chocolate bar on the way home and then macdonalds for tea. At weekends, half term, holidays they will be eating what they want. They will still be fat even if they are eating a nice healthy lunch five days a week.

If the school want to pay for my two to have a school dinner then I will let them have a school dinner. I can not afford them at the moment and don't actually think that they are good value for money - £2.10 for a jacket potato with cheese!

BringBackBod Fri 12-Jul-13 09:25:26

I can't see this ever happening. The reason so many children have packed lunches is because parents simply can't afford the cost of school dinners.
They would have to be significantly cheaper or the criteria for free school meals made more generous for this to work.

AuntieStella Fri 12-Jul-13 09:27:40

The BBC report is plain wrong.

A report is being published today.

The Governement hasn't yet adopted it or any of its recommendations.

To say they are already "urging" HTs to ban something about which no ban is yet under consideration is dreadful reporting.

Even The Guardian didn't go as far as that!

That's a food point sovery plus children who weren't currently overweighted start to have that change when the kids who don't eat the school meal start eating a ton more at tea and increases snacks as they were hungry from no lunch

Good point

geeandfeesmum Fri 12-Jul-13 09:28:39

Am I the only one who wonders what the hell it has to do with the school or the government what I feed my children? They are my children. They eat a sufficient diet of my choosing. They take packed lunches because they didn't eat when they had school lunches. I put in food of my choosing. It is healthy food, not that that is any of the schools or governments business.

I am sick of the nanny state telling me that they have a right to parent my children!!

LuisSuarezTeeth Fri 12-Jul-13 09:33:14

As others have said, the report was done by the founders of Leon, the restaurant chain. It's hardly independent is it?

My DC have a sandwich, fruit, raw veg, crisps or crackers and a small biscuit every day. Yes, biscuit and crisps daily. They eat for Britain. They are like whippets and they have plenty of fresh food all cooked from scratch. So shoot me!

The government need to keep their hands of packed lunches IMO

MrButtercat Fri 12-Jul-13 09:35:45

Posted on the other thread and what echt said.

fluffyraggies Fri 12-Jul-13 09:36:29

Niceguy - the reasons [for obesity] are more complex than a shit packed lunch. I bet if you looked into those kids who are very overweight then you'd find a home life where crap/cheap preprepared food or takeaways feature very highly along with copious amounts of sugary/fizzy drinks. Also combined with a lack of exercise. None of which a ban on packed lunches would address.

Exactly this. You can be over weight and, nutritionally speaking, in fact be starving to death at the same time. Forcing the whole school to eat preprepared meals will IMO drive down the nutritional content of the average school child. The obese ones will remain obese.

IME the majority of packed lunches being sent in are ok actually. Many superb! Lots of schools have successfully banned crisps and chocolate from packed lunches, which has raised the quality of the average pack up.

And anyway - why should the majority be controlled/punished because of the actions of a minority.

TeWiSavesTheDay Fri 12-Jul-13 09:36:43

I'm sure it won't happen.

None of the schools in our town have their own kitchens - I doubt most have enough space for everyone to sit down and eat. School dinners are brought in each morning from more than an hour away and reheated!

Because of this you have to choose the food in advance and it's difficult for them to make allowances for allergies etc (they can tell you which days will be safe for your child, but not make every day suitable for every child - they won't be prepped in entirely free from environments either, so not safe for some kids full stop)

They are also too expensive for us. DD will be having a packed lunch - mostly that means wholemeal bread and ham, fruit and salad, a drink and one extra proteiny thing eg boiled egg, homemade scone etc I discussed this with her dietician yesterday (she is under one due to severe food intolerance) who said DD had a very healthy diet!

So do I think DD would be better off having school dinners? No.

soverylucky Fri 12-Jul-13 09:38:50

Yes fluffy My dd's school has banned crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks. Cakes are also banned but I ignore this sometimes because the school dinners have sponge and custard on the menu.

fluffyraggies Fri 12-Jul-13 09:40:26

- nutritional content of the average school child 's daily food grin not nutritional content of the child!

birdynumnums Fri 12-Jul-13 09:41:28

No way can they do this. I think most of the children in my son's school who have school dinners get them for free. The menu looks lovely but I couldn't afford it with 2 children.

I do sometimes send crisps, apple pie, jammy dodgers - I don't think they are devil food as long as healthy food is packed alongside them. The school dinners kids get puddings so why can't the children having packed lunches have a treat too.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 12-Jul-13 09:42:36

Yanbu. NO WAY will I let my children eat the shit that passes for school dinners. He is on a loser with this one. There will be a revolt.

MrButtercat Fri 12-Jul-13 09:43:28

Hmm author is saying on BBC they're not asking for a ban.

RevoltingPeasant Fri 12-Jul-13 09:44:38

I just don't get this about school lunches being healthier confused

When we were primary age, my mum made us packed lunches almost every day. We would typically have a mini-flask with some hot soup in, half a sandwich on brown bread, some grapes/ satsuma, and some crackers or a granola bar or similar.

The school cooked lunches were always unidentifiable lumps of grey meat swimming in 'gravy' or carbs smothered in yellowish cheese, with flavoured milk or tinned juice on the side and wilting tinned fruit for dessert.

Grim, grim, grim. My mum didn't let us eat school lunches until we were in secondary as she considered them to be so unhealthy!

Mouseymouseface Fri 12-Jul-13 09:45:16

What about kids with food allergies?
dd is allergic to eggs, milk and nuts. We (school, dd, dh and me) all feel much happier with her taking a pack-up.

XBenedict Fri 12-Jul-13 09:45:19

Our school will have to introduce some radical changes if they are to try and encourage the children/parents to opt for school dinners. At the moment they are truly awful! I'm not saying my DCs packed lunches are always the healthiest but they are a lot healthier, substantial and enticing than what's currently on offer at school.

fluffyraggies Fri 12-Jul-13 09:48:30

I would agree with you birdy - however i have seen first hand more than one example of a child being sent to school with JUST a packet of crisps and a bar of chocolate day after day.

I can see the sense of banning these two things for consumption at school, as it makes it easier to address the issue with the parents who continually send their kids in with little else.

I agree it IS a bit of a mixed message to give pudding to those having school dinner while at the same time in the same building banning c + c from pack ups. .... But those children with parents able/willing to give a healthy pack up will, after all, still be able to give a treat at home time.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now