To think they should at least be allowed to eat inside?

(60 Posts)
Yakky Sun 22-Sep-13 00:09:12

DS1 has just started at secondary school. He always took a packed lunch when at primary school so was very excited when I told him he could now stay for school dinners.
However when he came home last week claiming he was starving I asked what he had had for lunch. He said "a sausage roll". When I told him to stop wasting money & go for a proper meal (with a plate & cutlery), he said there weren't any and that everyone had to eat out of a plastic tray outside in designated eating areas.
TBH I laughed as I thought he was joking.
He forgot his pe kit last week so school phoned & asked me to meet him in the school grounds to pass on his kit. It was raining so ,as it was lunchtime, I was suprised to see so many kids standing outside in the rain eating chips, burgers, hot dogs, etc out of plastic trays.
When I finally caught up with DS he was sitting on a bench with his friends getting wetter by the minute, all trying to eat soggy food (junk) out of a tray.
When I asked why they were all not sitting in the dining room they all replied they weren't allowed to. Apparently, there is no dining room as such just a glorified kitchen area where food is sold then taken away outside to be consumed.
I was not impressed at all.
Are all schools like this now? What happened to real school dinners?
Are they expected to eat outside in winter?
I would never have believed this if I hadn't seen it for myself.

Complain, parent power and all that works better with Heads and Governors than staff pointing out how ridiculous the school is being

CharityFunDay Sun 22-Sep-13 00:17:23

Bloody Hell, I've never heard of this before. How utterly mental.

HarrietSchulenberg Sun 22-Sep-13 00:17:52

Ds1's secondary school has a canteen where they HAVE to sit to eat hot school lunches. Cutlery provided. They can buy panini or sandwiches and take them outside, if they want to. Packed lunches can be eaten in the main school hall, which has lots of seating provided, but many of them choose to eat outside if the weather is OK.

I wouldn't be happy with the situation you described and I'd be investigating further with a view to making a complaint. I assume packed lunches have to be eaten outside too?

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sun 22-Sep-13 00:18:22

That's just ridiculous. You need to get to the bottom of that. Aren't there any classrooms they can sit in? What if it was absolutely pissing down and thundering and lightening and hailing? Are they supposed to sit outside in the snow? That can't be right!

Yakky Sun 22-Sep-13 00:36:08

Yes packed lunches are eaten outside, and they're not allowed to eat in the classrooms.
I understand there may be a lot of pupils who like to eat outside as the school has lots of outside designated eating areas (basically lots of benches). Very nice in summer I'm sure. But being made to stand outside in the rain with a crappy hot dog is not my idea of lunch.
The pupils aren't allowed off the school premises at lunchtime unless they have written approval from parents or are going home for lunch. As we live about a 5 min drive away I am tempted to take DS home for lunch. This way I know he's inside and eating something decent. But he wants to "hang out " with his friends, so not sure what to do for the best.

CharityFunDay Sun 22-Sep-13 00:42:50

Have you got a local paper that could be persuaded to run a story, naming and shaming the school? (It would probably involve you and your kid posing for a 'sadface' photo, but hey ho).

PrincessFlirtyPants Sun 22-Sep-13 00:44:50

YANBU, that's ridiculous. I presume the teachers eat outside too?

AbiJen Sun 22-Sep-13 01:17:57

I'd get in touch with the school head, get a reply, then the governing body. In the meantime other parents, and the Education Authority.

If this is true, and not the kids can eat in classrooms, then in the meantime you are allowed to take your son home for his lunch.

englishteacher78 Sun 22-Sep-13 06:25:45

It's normal for students not to be allowed to eat in classrooms (we can bend the rule if a teacher is present). Unfortunately if it was allowed the rooms would be left in a mess. However, we do have somewhere inside to eat - the restaurant.
I'd also be concerned about the menu. Is this school an academy? Academies don't have to meet nutrition guidelines etc. This sounds to me like 'lunch' provision on the cheap.
I'd complain.

merrymouse Sun 22-Sep-13 06:48:59

apart from the eating outside problem, which I agree sounds very odd (can't think of a situation where an adult would have no alternative but to eat their lunch in the rain), it's awful that they aren't really even serving proper food.

cupcake78 Sun 22-Sep-13 06:55:10

It's appalling! Make an appointment with the head. Find out the facts and if they are as your dc is saying make it known if it doesn't change you will a big thing of it by complain to the council/governing body/local papers etc.

You need to find out if it really is how it seems before you do this.

pudcat Sun 22-Sep-13 06:59:32

Did you have an evening for new pupils when you could look round? Did they say anything about lunches then? Or did they purposely omit it? I would email the head of year with your concerns.

MissBetseyTrotwood Sun 22-Sep-13 07:04:40

Odd. And nothing like any school I've ever worked in.

My school operates family dining and, despite my reservations about it before it began, it's actually lovely.

What happened when you went to view the school? Have they changed caterer since? Are there building works going on so the arrangement could be temporary?

If this is going on you won't be the only parent with concerns.

Finola1step Sun 22-Sep-13 07:40:34

Very odd. But I would check your facts first before taking it to others. Make an appointment with the deputy or assistant head (much more likely to be accessible than the lofty head). Double check that this isn't a temporary measure due to building works.

If you can't get an appointment, contact via email (so you have a paper trail). Don't bother with the phone. It is not acceptable that there is no indoor seating to eat lunch. But talk to the school first and listen to what they have to say before taking any further action.

RedHelenB Sun 22-Sep-13 08:31:51

Did you never look round this school? All secondary schools I know of, academy or not , have a dining room & provide meals like pasta that would need cutlery.

PumpkinPie2013 Sun 22-Sep-13 08:48:19

YANBU - expecting children to sit and eat outside in all weathers is ridiculous!

I work in a College now so slightly different as our students can go off site if they wish however we do still have a restaurant/canteen where meals are served and can be eaten. They also serve sandwiches and things which can be eaten in or taken out.

In addition we have a number of indoor social areas where students can eat packed lunches.

If we can manage that with over 2000 students then a school should be able to manage!! Certainly the schools I've worked in have.

Agree with others - get an appointment with the head/deputy and discuss with them. If necessary contact the governors and local authority.

prudyklimovitsky Sun 22-Sep-13 09:34:22

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curlew Sun 22-Sep-13 09:40:19

I'm surprised they asked you to come onto the school grounds to pass on the PE kit as well- I didn't think schools ever let parents wander around the place unsupervised......

hollyisalovelyname Sun 22-Sep-13 09:49:05

Parents Association? Check with your sons class rep.

McNewPants2013 Sun 22-Sep-13 09:52:26

This can't be in the uk shock

Yakky Sun 22-Sep-13 11:28:04

With regards to the pe kit....I thought that was odd too. when they phoned I said I would meet DS at lunchtime outside the school gates where I normally pick him up from. They hesitated and said no just come into the school so I said okay.
We did have a very short open evening, but DS missed the induction days as he was away with his then primary school on a weeks trip.
I remember going into what can only be described as a reception area with a long serving hatch/counter with shutters so assumed this was the "dining" area. Very small and there were no tables or chairs anywhere to be seen. However, at the open evening it was being used as the "school uniform shop" area. So I just assumed the chairs and tables had been removed to make more space for parents and DCs to buy and try on the sweatshirts.
I have looked on the school map and this appears to be the designated dining area. To me it looked liked a glorified tuck shop with a serving hatch and a till.
I realise that most kids this age aren't that fussed about eating healthily if they can get away with it. But I would have thought there would have at least been the opportunity the eat off a proper plate with cutlery, not those horrid polystyrene trays and wooden forks you get from the chippy.
Oh and yes it is in the UK, and no not an academy.

englishteacher78 Sun 22-Sep-13 11:35:52

Then I'd contact the LA they have nutritional standards they have to meet.

GiraffesAndButterflies Sun 22-Sep-13 11:35:55

Any chance they have building work overrunning from the summer and this is a temporary emergency arrangement?

curlew Sun 22-Sep-13 12:52:54

Go in to the school and ask these questions of somebody who can answer them before you go to the LEA.

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