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to expect more than this for £2.15 a day?

(89 Posts)
stinklebell Tue 16-Oct-12 15:43:44

Our school dinner contractor was changed at the beginning of this school year.

Mine don't have school dinners that often, but for quickness on a night when we have something else on (Rainbows/swimming lesson) they have a dinner so I can fling beans on toast or sandwiches down them before we dash out the door.

Today they had a school dinner.

DD1 had piece of French bread, some cucumber, some baked beans and a cookie. Hers was the last class in to the dinner queue and that's all that was left.

DD2's was better, a jacket potato, baked beans, cucumber and sponge with custard. Hers was the 5th class in, but a lot had already run out by then

The menus look good but they just never seem to provide enough so once the first few classes have gone through, there are only bits and pieces left.

Today the menu was either homemade chicken goujons or homemade breaded vegetable fingers served with jacket potatoes and baked beans, salad or seasonal vegetables, and either a cookie or sponge pudding or custard. French bread is also included.

There have been lots of complaints about portion sizes and there never being enough to go round - their solution to this seems to have been to rotate the classes so everyone gets to go first, rather than tackling the fact that they're not providing enough in the first place

Chopstheduck Tue 16-Oct-12 15:45:15

I'd be appalled tbh. I stopped school dinners as mine were always coming home hungry. But they didn't ever run out of the main item on offer!

jam17 Tue 16-Oct-12 15:46:38

So your suggesting that the school is starving the children? You sure that your DD1 wasn't just being fussy and then was worried what you'd say, so told you they'd run out when she actually just didn't like the look of it? That seems more likely...

Mintyy Tue 16-Oct-12 15:47:47

Yanbu. Write to the school to complain. Tell them your dds would have school lunches more often if you could be sure they were going to get everything they have paid for (even if that's not strictly true). Your dd1's lunch was pitiful!

Monty27 Tue 16-Oct-12 15:49:33

My dc's used to say stuff had run out because they were in second sittings. I helped out one lunch time, I couldn't believe the state of the school dinners. All contractors are different I know but this one was appalling and I think many of them probably are.

stinklebell Tue 16-Oct-12 15:49:41

Well, the menu today is all stuff she likes, so no, I don't think she was being fussy, and she wasn't the only one complaining about it.

It has been an issue with the whole school since they changed their contractor.

They're apparently having 'teething issues'

WorraLiberty Tue 16-Oct-12 15:51:19

They rotate the classes at my DS's school too and there's not always as much choice for the last class.

However, the portion sizes are always the same because no matter what choice is left...there'll still be the same amount IYSWIM.

Having said that, a few parents who have (for whatever reason) been into school at lunch time...have complained that they think the portion sizes are too small.

They are indeed fairly small but imo just perfect for a midday meal.

When my kids are at home on a weekend, they don't get a pudding after their being as they do at school - and then go straight out to run around the playground, I think it's just the right amount.

cantspel Tue 16-Oct-12 15:52:47

They should go back to how school diners were back in the dark ages when i was at school.

They made one meal and enough of that meal for everyone who was due to eat it so never an issue of there being nothing left for the back of the queue

Pooka Tue 16-Oct-12 15:52:48

We've had similar issues.

Ks1 go in first, with years 5 and 6 last.

What seems to be happening is that the younger kids are having their plates loaded with food, then the dinner ladies get cross because of waste and by the time the older kids go through, barely any of the main course or pudding are available.

peeriebear Tue 16-Oct-12 15:52:57

I've dissuaded DD1 from having hot dinners as she either never seemed to get much/had the same thing repeatedly/had utterly bizarre combinations. Curry (made with mince), carrots and bread and butter? And ours is £2.50 a day!

flowery Tue 16-Oct-12 15:55:46

DS1's dinners are £2 a day and they do it with a menu card. He gets a card sent home each week with the menus for the following week on it, with main and dessert choices. He has to tick what he wants and send it back in, and voila, he gets it, plus presumably waste is very limited as they know how much roughly of each option to make.

Could you recommend a system like that?

Pooka Tue 16-Oct-12 15:57:36

They ran out of the fish and jacket potatoes AND the menu potato wedges AND the sponge pudding last week on one day.

Dd had some grated cheese, baked beans (which she ate with her nose pinched as she doesn't like them) and some cucumber. No pudding.

The school are monitoring the situation. Our caterers haven't changed. Dd is now haing packed lunch. Ironically I changed her o packed lunch once before because she was frequently having 2 puddings and the main coursec(in ks1).

Pooka Tue 16-Oct-12 15:58:58

And ours choose each morning what they'll have. Only they don't then have it!

ObiWan Tue 16-Oct-12 16:09:53

YANBU. I have heard of this being a fairly common problem, outside contractors are trying to squeeze every penny out of the agreement.

Quite apart from the principle of the thing, one of my boys is a real foodie. If he'd battled through the morning dreaming about his promised lunch, he'd probably spend the afternoon in tears if it didn't materialise grin.

Rotating the classes so that they get an equal chance of going without the food that you have actually paid for seems insane.

ObiWan Tue 16-Oct-12 16:12:33

And .. when I was at school, we'd be encouraged to have seconds, so that there was no waste. That seems a thing unheard of now, it's probably against the healthy eating guidelines.

Nobody makes chocolate cake and custard like primary school cooks.


Shinyshoes1 Tue 16-Oct-12 16:14:18

our system is similar to Flowery

There is a red choice, blue choice and green choice. The children choose their meal at registration and the total number of meals go over to the kitchen. The child gets a coloured rubber band after they have chosen and this gets put in their tray they wear at dinner time to let the staff know what to give the children.

Hardly any wastage

can u try an get something like this imlemented

Narked Tue 16-Oct-12 16:14:26

'I have heard of this being a fairly common problem, outside contractors are trying to squeeze every penny out of the agreement.'

Exactly. This happens in a lot of schools. And the result is that the numbers taking hot lunches drop. Which means the companies squeeze the margins even more.

StaceymReadyForNumber3 Tue 16-Oct-12 16:21:27

Our school have recently taken the hot dinners 'in house' rather than using a catering company and the size, quality and quantity have improved no end.

It could be worth raising thus idea with the head.

MummyPig24 Tue 16-Oct-12 16:25:25

Ds is only in reception and hasn't had schlll dinner yet, not recommended durinf the first term. However the system works like this: child selects meal the night before or a few days before then just "checks in" at school so they know they are there and to prepare their meal. That way there should be enough for everyone. You top up your dinner account online.

lynniep Tue 16-Oct-12 16:25:42

We were appalled by the portion sizes at DS1s school too. Not so much about the sittings - pretty much everyone gets a piddly portion. Its just that for 2nd sitting they get less choice in whatever piddly portions there are available.

We know because this is standard as thats what was served up on mothers & fathers day (so they aren't hiding it - there is a standard portion for each child - it just happens to be pathetic) They bulk up with massive sugary puddings and custard, which is somewhat annoying when we are told not to give the children sugary items in their packed lunches...

lynniep Tue 16-Oct-12 16:27:32

ooh flowery you get a menu card to tick? we don't get those at St Annes!

PfftTheMagicDraco Tue 16-Oct-12 16:27:42

I don't think the hot dinners are worth it. ours are £2.10 a head, not healthy enough and not enough variety. We tried it for a while, but went back to sandwiches eventually.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 16-Oct-12 16:31:06

My boys only have school dinners once a week but DS1 (yr5) often says that the main choice is often gone (KS2 go in later).
DS1 (yr2) will confirm that he had the main meal but that there was none left when DS1 went in.
We had a new menu last week, Wed - when they have their school dinner - is changing to meat free Wed, fine - except there is already a vegetarian choice, so now the main will just be 2 vegetarian choices.
I also think the portion sizes are inadequate for the older primary children and don't feel that the meals are value for money.
I am reverting back to packed lunch every day from after half term.

InkleWinkle Tue 16-Oct-12 16:33:56

Ours are the same as ShineyShoes
Twice a year we get a new menu which is on a three week rotating basis so children know what there's going to be that day.

InkleWinkle Tue 16-Oct-12 16:34:13

And it's only £1.75

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