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to think even Gove wouldn''t ban packed lunches

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

iloverainbows Sun 14-Jul-13 22:53:13

Packed Lunches - I don't understand the UK - can parents not see that they can ensure this doesn't happen (ie the banning)? There is a massive population - parents en masse protesting against this will ensure it doesn't happen. The government can't make you pay. I wouldn't even be wasting time worrying about this.

Charging Fees - agree with other posters this will come in at some point. I also believe that charging for GP visits will also be brought in. Where I live we pay for both. Schools are given a rating based on the affluence of the area - the higher the rating the less the government gives the school for funding. The school then sets an amount that parents are requested to pay. You don't have to pay it but it is made clear that the school cannot offer extras or improve facilities without this money. We also pay for all stationery.

TroublesomeEx Sun 14-Jul-13 22:55:28

My son had school dinners for a while. I was a school governor when all the new menus came in for school dinners and the school had a big drive to increase uptake of school dinners.

So he had them for half a term. During that time, we were up and down and the doctors, he was forever being sent home from school ill and it eventually transpired that the meals were so carb heavy and full of rubbish that he was constipated!

He went back to packed lunches and, like his sister, is very rarely ill with anything. That's because I make sure that their diets are healthy, nutritious and balanced. And I balance it across the three meals in a day. I wouldn't want to have to focus it on 2 meals, and up the ante, because I have to ignore, or worse counter, what they had eaten at lunch!

superstarheartbreaker Sun 14-Jul-13 23:10:14

I don't agree with banning packed lunches but I do think more children would have cooked dinners if we campaigned for healthier and better quality lunches.
DD has school dinners. Partly because I know that she will eat for others (wheras for me she will nibble.) Also I HATE making packed lunches with a passion.

TroublesomeEx Sun 14-Jul-13 23:11:25

That's a fair point, superstar. I could definitely do without the hassle of making packed lunches!

perfectstorm Sun 14-Jul-13 23:57:03

They'd have problems at our local primary. No kitchens at all - all lunches are packed lunches. And I can't believe we're the only school in the country in that situation, either.

5madthings Mon 15-Jul-13 00:01:52

Yep I hate making four pack ups a night, if school meals were actually good quality then I would buy them. But it would cost me £50 a week, I can make pack ups that are healthy and much cheaper than that.

duchesse Mon 15-Jul-13 00:39:46

Interesting conversation I had only yesterday with the mayor of a French village of 3000 people. In France, the municipalities administer the school meals service which is taken by most pupils apart from those that go home for lunch. School is 4 days a week and the three course, balanced lunches cost €3.20 for the first child, €2.90 for every subsequent child. Bursaries are available for very poor children (but not very many are so poor that they qualify). The commune loses €80,000 a year on those lunches yet no-one, not one single person would begrudge those children that complete balanced meal. It is just one of those things that French people will absolutely not compromise on: good quality balanced school meals for all. If those children eat only that one meal all day, they will have eaten enough to live on and stay in good health. That is the difference between France and the UK- we pay a lot of homage to the god Budget. (also clearly the difference between how the meals services are run, which to my mind only betrays how differently we treat our children)

Italiangreyhound Mon 15-Jul-13 00:44:57

My dd has a mixture of packed lunches some days and school dinners other days. She asked to not have dinners on a Friday because it was fish and chips and she doesn't like that.

I hate making packed lunches but I do it because DD wants it. I ma not sure that packed lunches are necesarily healthy or unhealthy.

I also think if the school wants to educate about healthy eating then forcing kids to eat school meals is a crap way to do it. Do they really think kids will not get crisps etc unless they get them in a packed lunch? Better to educate about healthy eating and encourage children to try healthy foods and request them. They can always limit the number of unhealthy things in lunch boxes, as they do at most schools in our area, no sweets etc.

snoworneahva Mon 15-Jul-13 09:04:10

How about they just encouraged the kids to eat proper food instead of banging on about "healthy food". School should not be making oven junk food but they are....they should be making from scratch normal food. Why are we so obsessed with low fat food for primary school kids? Why aren't they just eating normal stuff - shepherds pie, chicken pie and mash, Spag Bol - what kind of cooks are we employing in schools that we need legislation to force them to do their jobs properly...why aren't Headteachers over seeing the quality of school dinners as part of their job - it seems to me that management of school dinners needs to be part of a HeadTeacher's responsibility rather than outsourced to the County Council, Ofsted should be assessing the quality - that's if we were actually serious about food - but we're not, hence we occasionally get outraged and then continue to feed kids slops at school.

geeandfeesmum Mon 15-Jul-13 09:07:16

Maybe not but as a society we believe in children's rights. With these rights is the right to be healthy and well looked after, sending a child into school with only jelly sweets and red bull is horrid and the parents should be ashamed.

*If they are sending their kid to school with a bag of sweets for their dinner, there is no hope for them.
Children's welfare is the responsibility of all of us as a society, so if their parent won't feed them properly, then someone else has to.*

The problem that both of these points fail to notice is that most parents will not be doing this. It is not down to society to dictate to parents that their child can't have crisps in their packed lunch. If there is an issue of malnutrition that should be dealt with as a separate issue. It is one thing to protect vulnerable children. It is quite another to use those children as an opportunity to dictate to other parents how to raise their children. These things are 2 completely separate things. Trying to blur the lines between the two is exactly what is wrong with this country!!

worldgonecrazy Mon 15-Jul-13 09:25:50

DD's school only does packed lunches, except on those occasions when the children cook their own food. (The first thing they learn to make, aged 3, is vegetable soup and homemade pizza.)

I can only think of 2 overweight children at the school.

Packed lunches are about educating the parents as to what is a good combination of foods. A blanket ban, which is never going to happen anyway, is a ridiculous idea. But at least it made the headlines.

Crabbypink Mon 15-Jul-13 10:29:36

Our school has pretty good lunches. But I do better. Aren't packed lunches a constitutional right? Will organise a legal focus group to consider question, at great expense to the t⃥a⃥x⃥p⃥a⃥y⃥e⃥r⃥ government.

Crabbypink Mon 15-Jul-13 10:30:36

Don't know what just happened to my post. Please ignore alien characters.

duchesse Mon 15-Jul-13 10:39:38

At the heart of this debate imo is the very poor knowledge of food and nutritional requirements of children amongst a very large number of British people. When DS started school I actually couldn't believe the meals he was reporting to me sometimes: Pizza, spaghetti hoops and chips shock. What kind of twisted system feeds that sort of crap to children and what's worse, thinks it's acceptable? How could anyone work as a school dinner person and think that was an acceptable combination of nutrients to feed a growing body? Why was everyone not complaining all the time?

The answer was that these children were being "fed" chicken nuggets and chips at home in the evening- the parents were equally clueless about how to feed their children!!

As it was I just looked like a stirring nutjob- I was alone in finding it unacceptable. Of course this was some years before St Jamie started using his status to effect change.

ZingWidge Mon 15-Jul-13 10:51:42


we hate doing them grin

anchovies Mon 15-Jul-13 10:52:34

I was the biggest advocate of school dinners for years. However I finally realised that I was paying £30 a week (3 dcs) for them to eat a load of rubbish. The introduction of strawberry/chocolate milk was the final straw.

They are loving packed lunches. I certainly am not serving up part of the 99% of nutritionally inadequate packed lunches. It is quite an effort but to be honest it is worth it.

Serve up a decent school dinner and I will gladly pay for it.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 15-Jul-13 11:02:03

I think it's the tomato sauce in baked beans that counts as a vegetable, but I could be wrong.

Bellbird Mon 15-Jul-13 11:09:20

In this hot weather, my children are extra glad to be having packed lunches. They'll eat them outside, under the trees in the quiet areas. I think this is really nice for them. The school dinners (as I mentioned in earlier post on Friday) are glorified ready meals served in an inadequate, cramped, stuffy multi-purpose craft room (not dedicated to meals) with prison trays and no consideration of portion sizes per age or time taken out to do sports clubs.

Their packed lunches today are: Marmite sandwich on wholemeal bread, packet of raisins, an apple, orange juice, small piece of cheese, and a small oat bar and a big bottle of water. It is not big on protein and there is room for improvement, but tonight we'll be eating roast chicken with couscous and allotment veg / salad and they had cereal with yogurt at breakfast.

In our position, I think packed lunches are the way to continue for now, until Secondary where there is excellent on-site catering.

Loa Mon 15-Jul-13 11:26:30

Many parents mistakenly imagine that a packed lunch is the healthiest option. In fact, it is far easier to get the necessary nutrients into a cooked meal – even one of mediocre quality.

That in the five point plan link - is this even true?

I'd be interested if there was any evidence for this assertion.

I know cooked carrot gives more nutritional input than raw - saw that experiment on a BBC science program but want aware this was true generally.

How does cooked but now cold food come into that - cooked ham, Cornish pasties, pasta salads with cooked bits ?

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Mon 15-Jul-13 11:36:45

And don't the nutrients if vegetables diminish the longer you cook them? So what started off as a nutritional portion of broccoli at point of removing from steamer/pan , by the time it's been kept warm in servers or transported (heat ensures it carries in cooking) surely there must be very little left?

Talkinpeace Mon 15-Jul-13 11:44:23

When my kids were at Primary they did a HUGE term long kick on "healthy eating" and got the healthy schools mark and we had lunch box checks.

End of term parties. Teachers organised the food.
Wall to wall sugar and crap : the kids have been cynics about ALL school based food ever since.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 15-Jul-13 11:47:51

I think if there are to be no packed lunches then the WHOLE school gets to follow that rule - right up to the head.

Make everyone pay £2.50 for a small plate of cack too.... same money - so same portion size etc....

Our school does a "recruitment drive" for school dinners every term - but not one of the teachers/TAs/Support staff/ management team would touch the food with a barge-pole..... (I say that as an ex mid-day supervisor - and we were offered free food when there were left overs... no ta...)

If "grown ups" had to eat the kept-warm cack that is school dinners at our school the quality would soon improve (but the price would have to go up).

pumpkinsweetie Mon 15-Jul-13 11:50:45

grin Made good idea, that will stop the lot of them in their tracks if they have to stick it down their gullet and throw away a tenner+ for the privellagegringrin

morethanpotatoprints Mon 15-Jul-13 11:51:07

I think the kids round here would just go home for dinner if they brought this in. Which is stupid because those who are unable to get back in time, there are always some, would bring down attendance marks and annoy ofsted.

Bellbird Mon 15-Jul-13 11:58:01

I agree that cooked veg does offer better nutritional benefits, IF they're not overcooked and then re-heated to pulp!! When I cook veg at home, having lovingly grown some of it, I'm very aware of preserving the flavour and nutrients.

It seems to me that the Government are not comparing like-for-like if they are looking at packed-lunches alongside school dinners: A school dinner is the main meal of the day for the majority of children having them; children with packed lunches have a main meal at home after school. There is a major problem if any hard-up family treats the packed lunch as the main meal. That, should be addressed by improving things for those families.

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