Unfortunately schools and nurseries don't get the money for Soya milk, nor do I as a childminder, although I provide it.
This is from the Nursery milk website:-
"Milk means heat-treated (e.g. pasteurised) liquid cows milk. It includes whole and semi-skimmed milk. It does not include milk with flavours, colours, added vitamins or any other additions. It does not include fully skimmed milk, goats milk, soya milk or unpasteurised milk.
Ilast year I used to send in rice milk as they are the only ones that come in little cartons. Ds liked being the same as his friends but I had to pay. This year in Y1 far less children have milk and I don't bother anymore.
If your child is entitled to FSM then they MUST provide a suitable alternative. I can't believe that some of you are being told that their children can't be catered for! That's discrimination and is covered by the Equalities Act. The school and local authority have a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' to accommodate any child with a long term medical condition - which covers allergies and intolerances. We're not entitled to FSM yet our dietician still arranged a meeting with myself and the school catering staff to look at ways to adapt the lunch menu to suit DS's allergies (milk, wheat, eggs, nuts) so that he wouldn't feel excluded and didn't always have to bring packed lunch. I would make a massive stink with the local authority if I was in your position infamous and couthymow and threaten to take legal action based on the Equalities Act. I bet the school provides halal and vegetarian options so why not an allergen free option?
I have experience of cross-contamination not being taken due care and attention of, and I'd rather send food in with DS3 and know he is safer than to prove a point that could make him ill or even kill him though...
I'm likely to fight it at some point - probably in a few years once he has done a term in YR, then I'll rock the boat a bit...
I totally understand your concerns about cross-contamination and the possibility of mistakes (I was a nervous wreck the first time DS had school dinners and still worry about it now nearly 2 years on) but that's something that can be discussed and worked through and yes, you may well still decide not to risk it. However, there's a difference between choosing not to risk letting your child having FSMs and being told that they CAN'T have them. It's about having the choice. We were offered the possibility of DS having dinners every day of the week but chose to stick to the one day when they always have roast dinner as this was the easiest and safest option in our opinion (we just supply a suitable gravy powder). That's our choice but at least we were given the option of dinners every day if we wanted to.
On the school milk issue we provided cartons of soya or rice milk for DS in reception. On the wider issue of school meals / catering - he has school dinners all the time and can mostly find something from the menu (he is milk,egg,fish free). There are no puddings though and he had fruit every day until I decided to take in packs of jellies / fruit puree / alpro puds so he has some choice. They are really good at looking after him (kitchen and dinner staff too) but I don't think would actually adapt menu for him - although have been known to make him his own mashed potatoes for example. I'm not sure what is reasonable level of adaptation to expect. If he had more allergies (say added wheat or soya) it would be impossible on current menu. School dinners here are free for all children so it's important for him to be able to join in - very few have packed lunch because of the free school meals.
ds's diet is so specialised - its the ketogenic - that even the hospital that he's sees the ketogenic dietiaican in doesnt provide food for him when he's an in-patient. And one teeny mistake, 1g of carbohydrate and we're in resus with a life threatening seizure. They refused point blank at school.