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Devon County Council no longer providing school meals service

(11 Posts)
KirstyJC Tue 30-Nov-10 20:27:54

We got a note from DS1's primary school today. It states that from next Easter Devon County Council will no longer provide a school meals service, due to LA spending cuts.

There are three options: getting a new contractor to continue to provide meals (at higher costs), school taking over providing meals (again, at higher costs) or the school no longer providing a hot meal at all (children getting free meals will be given a packed lunch).

DH and I are absolutely LIVID about this.

We believe that hot meals at school are fundamental to good nutrition and health, enabling children to concentrate and especially important in winter.

I think removing this service will affect vulnerable children who rely on school meals to get their only hot meal of the day, as well as those who attend after school child care and have no time for hot meals in the evenings.

What makes it particularly ironic is that on teletext news there is a story about how ministers are urging schools, employers, the food and drink industry and communities themselves to promote healthy lifestyles - and that councils are to get a ringfenced budget to help with this.

Do they not realise the importance of good nutrition and meals on the health of our children? How can they possibly justify removing hot meals for the sake of a £1.5 million saving - a drop in the ocean for the whole of the county!

We are trying to put a list together of organisations that we can contact about this to try and get them to change it.

We would value any thoughts people might have and suggestions of who to contact.

Many thanks

pinkteddy Tue 30-Nov-10 22:49:42

Jamie Oliver? School Food Trust? Who is your local MP?

scaryteacher Wed 01-Dec-10 09:39:02

I suppose as Devon are also making teachers redundant, then something has to give. If most people opt for the paying more, then presumably a service will still run albeit at a greater cost.

Devon have been overstretched for years and it is one of the biggest counties in the UK, and given the topography it can't be easy to provide school meals from just outside Plymouth up to Barnstaple for instance. I would like to see more schools provide the service for themselves; my son's prep in Tavistock did this, as did another private school there at which I taught, and I was happy to eat at either school. The comp I taught at in Cornwall also cooked from scratch each day, so it can be done.

CardyMow Wed 01-Dec-10 17:46:57

My DS's rimary in Essex faced exactly this issue 3 yrs ago. They decided to provide the meals cooked in-house. Yes it has put the prices of the meals up, but other than that, it has worked well. It's not the end of the world.

mamatomany Thu 09-Dec-10 13:40:05

Schools sourcing and cooking the food on site increases the quality ten fold in my experience.

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 09-Dec-10 13:47:16

My dd used to go to Ilfracomve junior school - they did all the cooking in house and it was fantastic quality - all meat and milk sourced from local farms.

Cooking in house should be encouraged.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 09-Dec-10 13:49:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeenBeta Thu 09-Dec-10 13:57:12

Yest another example o teh Coalition walking straight into the trap that Labour set for them.

It is perfectly obvious to me that cutting £1.5m for the council budget by sacking or slashing th pay of the top 20 senior coucil oficer would easily produce savings of £1.5m.

That is not what will happen though. Councils pay the politics and put the cuts where tthe most pain can be inflicted and blamed on the Coalition. The Govt need to bang heads together. Devon is a Tory/LibDem stronghold for goodness sake.

Central Govt should shut down County Councils. The Coalition promised to remove layers of bureacracy. Here is a good place to make an example.

matildarosepink Thu 09-Dec-10 14:01:54

Agree with pinkteddy about contacting your MP asap. Surely the whole process could be subbed through another aspect of the LA budget?! I wouldn't take their word for it about it not being cost-effective for the school to do it themselves - how about investigating this independently?

I find that LAs sometimes just dish out rubbish treatment to their communities, or dodgy information, because they think they won't get questioned... I wonder if your headteacher could get in touch with other schools who self cater and see what their advice is. If I were your head, I'd be livid.

MilaMae Thu 09-Dec-10 14:18:21

We've not had this letter.

swanker Thu 09-Dec-10 15:09:08

Most councils are cutting these types of services- ours are losing music service, catering, health education, governor support, schools' advisors etc. If you want to save them, you need to be writing to your councillors and MPs.

People seem to want huge cuts in public sector until they realise it means a reduction in services...

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