Free school meals for reception

(27 Posts)
Gillquilty Wed 03-Sep-14 21:30:10

We decided to opt out, our son is in year two and has packed lunches, after having tried school dinners, he came home most days having eaten half a potato, cheese and raisins as he didn't want to choose the meat or veggie options available. He is a great eater at home and eats a varied and healthy diet. Our daughter starts soon, we have been told today that if we don't take up the option then she will be the only child in reception who doesn't have school meals. The teacher even went on to say that having a hot meal in school would help her to make healthy selections, like we are incapable of teaching her that at home. Then that she would miss out socially as a result of eating a different meal to the rest of her peers. The company who supply the meals is a subsidiary of an enormous well known international food supplier. Well known for having been involved in supplying horse meat instead of beef. So we aren't over excited at the prospect of her eating their food. Also the menu is labeled up at healthy but when you really look at it, it's not great, loads of red meat, pastry cheese and fatty sugary desserts.
Am I being unreasonableness to feel like we are being forced into taking these school meals?

MrsWinnibago Wed 03-Sep-14 21:32:00

I was pressured too. I wonder if they've got to fulfill numbers or something? We didn't take them up on it and DD is NOT the only one not having it.

Any teachers out there care to let us in if there is pressure on you to encourage uptake?

StrangeGlue Wed 03-Sep-14 21:33:35

There'll soon be loads of drop outs I bet she won't be alone for long

Finola1step Wed 03-Sep-14 21:36:03

No, no pressure. Both in my own school and my son's. But I can appreciate that for some schools, this will be a logistical nightmare and the admin teams will want parents to choose either way.

WooWooOwl Wed 03-Sep-14 21:36:15

You need to speak to other parents and see how it goes. If it turns out your dd is the only one not having school dinners, then it would probably be better for her not to be singled out, but I'd guess you're not the only parent that wants to do packed lunch at all.

Crazy3 Wed 03-Sep-14 21:39:10

On the back of the menu it says hat the school will receive extra funding on the back of each child that signs up, so I can understand the schools wanting to push it, but it seems wrong to us. We are debating wether or not just to go ahead and send her in with a packed lunch, as I think there will be people who also drop out I have read on the internet that the head teachers have the Power to ban packed lunch- which seems a bit heavy handed. Because apparently full take up is the best way to achieve success. But if the menu isn't very healthy then what's the point.

Doingakatereddy Wed 03-Sep-14 21:44:37

Being the only child who doesn't have dinners will single her out. Why not let her try and choose herself?

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Wed 03-Sep-14 21:50:51

Yep, it's bollocks isn't it. I don't want my DS to have free meals, he was entitled to FSM last year and he only had them for 2 weeks, he didn't eat! But now all his class will be having dinners so I can't carry on sending him with packed lunches. Hopefully some of them will drop out and he can go back to the balanced, healthy packed lunch which includes food he actually eats.

Tipsykisses Wed 03-Sep-14 21:52:19

I've read a lot about this the last few days , my Dc are a bit older so are not involved but I wouldn't be happy if they were after seeing what's on offer !!

If you are worried about being singled out I'd discreetly chat to other parents you know & find out if they realise what's on offer with these lunches , then you can all stick together and speak to the head as a group .

Janethegirl Wed 03-Sep-14 21:53:25

I'm glad mine are too old for all this crap.

littlejohnnydory Wed 03-Sep-14 21:57:41

Mine are not having school dinners, along with one other child. No pressure from the school though. I'm expecting a lot will drop out because they won't eat it...I went in to try a school dinner and it was awful, so just wasn't happy for my dc to have it every day. There is no way in this world that it's healthier than the packed lunch we are given.

effinandjeffin Wed 03-Sep-14 21:59:35

I took the offer of fsm meals up for my dd in Y2 and I'm regretting it already. She's diabetic so I've had to go in to carb count and they aren't healthy in the slightest. Two days running, the pudding has been a large muffin type thing with a dollop of buttercream on the top. They've also run out of jacket potatoes half way through, and whilst I realise that's it early days, by the time the Y6's get there, there's barely anything left. My ds said all that was left for his friend was a hash brown. It wouldn't be so bad but I'm paying for my son's dinner for what is basically scraps. It's a cock up of the highest order so far and I'm considering putting both of them back on sandwiches.

Mildpanic Wed 03-Sep-14 22:08:14

What a load of rubbish this plan is.
Dd went in this morning and there were 9 pack ups there already out of 29 children.
My dd simply won't eat a lot of dodgy looking food (which I truly believe some school meals are) she opts for fish an chips on a Friday as a rule but often they have run out of food and mostly it is only 2 fish fingers. I honestly can't see what the benefit is above the wholemeal roll with lean chicken, apple, banana and yoghurt I send her with. All this after a healthy breakfast.
The whole scheme is sorely misjudged and a poor allocation of much needed funds.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 03-Sep-14 22:14:07

oh such joy to hear this.

mine has been opted out too, though he was given a dinner today despite having his packed lunch with him. fortunatly today was the one day that I was happy he had a choice from the menu.

I am hoping he is not the only child in his class not eating the lunches.

hiccupgirl Wed 03-Sep-14 22:18:17

I'm encouraging my DS to have the dinners because he will pretty much be the only one not having them otherwise. I know he will be really upset if he is the only one having a packed lunch particularly if he has to then sit somewhere else.

I'm just going to see how it goes. Hopefully as the term goes on more kids will take packed lunches so he's not the only one if he really doesn't like the dinners.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 03-Sep-14 22:20:51

someone has to be the first on not having the dinners though if that is what you want.

ashtrayheart Wed 03-Sep-14 22:22:06

My dd is going into year 1 and we will see how it goes. She has picked jacket potato for most days!

Crazy3 Wed 03-Sep-14 22:46:59

Asked her before bed what she would like to do and explained she may be the only one on lunches, but would still be able to sit with friends and she said she would prefer packed lunch. The only reason we are chewing this over, (excuse the pun!) is because we are being pressured by the school. Think we are settling on packed lunch, she wants them and we want her to have them and her brother has them.

EhricLovesTheBhrothers Thu 04-Sep-14 08:19:36

Yeah well I will pull my DS out if he isn't eating, regardless of whether he's the only one. Given that his teacher actually phoned me 2 weeks into term last year to tell me how little he was eating everyday I think the school will support that. It just seems pretty unfair on him.

GoblinLittleOwl Thu 04-Sep-14 08:50:11

Please blame Nick Clegg for this, not the schools.
It is a political initiative, not an educational one.

PisforPeter Thu 04-Sep-14 08:52:36

I would let my DS decide. At least let him try it

JustAShopGirl Thu 04-Sep-14 09:20:16

you are being pressured by the school because they have been pressured in turn - they need 87% take up over KS1 to make it work cost wise. (nowt to do with social/healthy eating issues - MONEY as always)

coldwater1 Thu 04-Sep-14 10:20:23

I didn't want my 5 year old having the free school meals either so yesterday sent her with packed lunch but today she asked if she could have school dinners so i let her. She'll either like it or not and as its free i'll let her make her own mind up.

Peppa87 Thu 04-Sep-14 11:56:14

When I was in primary school school dinners and packed lunches were sat in different rooms. If it means your daughter would be seated somewhere else then that is very mean.
I would just go with your preference, so what if she has her packed lunch and the kid next to her has a school dinner, it's all food?

Loudandtothepoint Thu 04-Sep-14 12:54:56

sorry, complete threadjack but why do kids who have packed lunches have to sit separately to kids who kids having school dinners?

DD1 starts school on Thursday and she will be having school dinners. i checked the menu and it looked reasonable but i have reserved the right to change my mind if she doesn't like them. Never occurred to me that if we switch she wouldn't be able to eat with her friends.

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