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Free school meals for all infant children

(564 Posts)
Scarletbanner Tue 17-Sep-13 17:11:15

What do you think? I think it's a great idea.

Sirzy Tue 17-Sep-13 17:13:12

I'm not sure on it to be honest.

DS is starting in reception next year and I think unless it was some sort of fantastic menu I would still rather send him with a packed lunch

Scarletbanner Tue 17-Sep-13 17:13:16

Sorry - here

Nancy66 Tue 17-Sep-13 17:15:02

I think it's a good idea too.
I assume parents can opt out though if they still want to do packed lunches.

Scarletbanner Tue 17-Sep-13 17:16:00

It avoids any stigma of being on FSM, though. And for families with a few children, the costs of school lunches soon mount up.

wheredidiputit Tue 17-Sep-13 17:17:47

I think it's a ploy as they will be going to the polls in May 2015.

turnipsoup Tue 17-Sep-13 17:19:25

Brilliant. I think it is wonderful that all children will now get a healthy meal a day.

Sirzy: why would you send DS with a packed lunch?

Sirzy Tue 17-Sep-13 17:21:23

Because the menus for the local schools wouldn't have enough that he would eat. Having just looked he would end up with a jacket potato every day it seems.

Are schools also going to be provided with the staff and space to cook so many more meals?

Scarletbanner Tue 17-Sep-13 17:21:41

It won't make me vote for them though!

ouryve Tue 17-Sep-13 17:22:46

Our school lunch menu is full of red meat, pastry and cakey puds. No healthier than the packed lunch my boys take and nowhere near as nice.

sillyoldfool Tue 17-Sep-13 17:23:26

Obviously timed as a vote winner, but a good thing none the less.
Will definitely take them up, we're a way above the threshold for fsm, but it'll make a big difference to our food budget. Fingers crossed they roll it out for all years a bit later!

Bumpstarter Tue 17-Sep-13 17:23:50

Absolutely livid. What about the juniors? They are basing this decision on research which took place in pilot schools where they had universal free school meals IN THE WHOLE SCHOOL. Apparently the school culture changed. So how are they going to have the same results if they only do if for HALF the school?

On a personal note, I have struggled to pay for school meals, for the last 4 years, and my children will both be in the juniors once this comes in.

Ragwort Tue 17-Sep-13 17:25:19

Brilliant. I think it is wonderful that all children will now get a healthy meal a day.

You must be very lucky, at my DS's school the meals were shipped in, ready-cooked and not at all healthy.

NoComet Tue 17-Sep-13 17:25:50

Yes, but it will only have health benifits for all if they are compolsory and the DCs eat them.

And I can assure them that DD2 would happily go hungry rather than eat a meal she doesn't like.

Just as she can and does go thirsty if water is the only drink on offer.

Personally, I'd much rather they laid off worrying what DCs eat and concentrated on teaching them.

Children's diets are not schools job, they are parents. It makes fuck all difference if a DC eats a brown roll and an apple in school, but coke and a mars bar for brealfast and MacDonald's for tea!

mrsravelstein Tue 17-Sep-13 17:26:22

schools meals have been shite at the private and state schools my kids have been to.

poachedeggs Tue 17-Sep-13 17:26:49

I have reservations about the "healthy" nature of school meals. Ours seem great but there's unlimited French bread and on days I've sent DS he's come home having had bread sticks and carrot batons and French bread then a (sweetened low fat) yogurt for afters. I don't class that as very healthy, but doubtless if they become free for all it'll put pressure on those of us who still choose lunches. Plus it might be something I have to opt for if our finances continue to be squeezed.

Having said that I think it would be great to remove the stigma of free school lunches.

Ragwort Tue 17-Sep-13 17:27:25

Totally agree Star, wish schools would spend more time and energy actually educating our children than worrying about what they eat.

PandaNot Tue 17-Sep-13 17:28:45

We were one of the pilot areas and had two years of fsm for all primary children. Almost all children opted to have them at our school and most have continued ever since.

DrinkFeckArseGirls Tue 17-Sep-13 17:29:37

Probably that's because of Daniel Pelka case.

Viviennemary Tue 17-Sep-13 17:31:09

I theory it's an excellent idea. But I think the wastage will be tremendous.

thegriffon Tue 17-Sep-13 17:31:44

I think its great. It'll be more inclusive for those who are already having free school meals because of parent's low income.
Depends how the schools handle it of course but hopefully will be an opportunity for children will learn to enjoy the social aspect of eating. Also my children were a lot less fussy with food when they ate with other children so perhaps there'll be less food fads

topicsactiveimon Tue 17-Sep-13 17:33:14

I'd rather they spent the money on an extra classroom assistant.

I have been fortunate enough that I do not need the government to provide my children lunch, and I'm content that my tax money pays for children who do need it. If some parents are struggling, they could lower the threshold for FSMs and catch more children on the edge of needing it. Would help out more parents. Sometimes, I am aware, it costs more to administer a benefit than if you just gave it to everyone. But I have a hard time believing that's the case here.

Indith Tue 17-Sep-13 17:34:08

Round here took part in the trials. Apparently it was great AND the quality of the school meals went up. Sadly they stopped it just before ds1 started school.

BackforGood Tue 17-Sep-13 17:34:30

I'm going against the grain, and saying it seems daft to me, to give the Country a £600million bill it can ill afford at this time, when a considerable number of families are very happy to pay it.
FAR better, IMO, to raise the threshold for FSMs, so more of the families who are 'being pinched' qualify, but leaving it as it is for those who can afford it. That way, ALL Primary children could be included, not just the first 3 years.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Tue 17-Sep-13 17:35:08

Great idea, but should be extended to juniors as well. I agree they can be too carb heavy though - our school meals are good on the whole, but there is fresh bread on the side every day, which is overkill imo, especially when the menu is something like spag bol followed by cake.

But the idea of making sure all children get a decent hot meal every day is sound. Especially with the soaring cost of living - plenty of families who do not qualify for fsm could still be struggling to afford food.

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