Free school lunch?(18 Posts)
A friend of mine's daughter has recently started school and she is entitled to free lunches. Her daughter has got issues with food and has visited nutritists etc in the past.The school has now advised my friend that as they can not get her to eat very much she needs to provide a lunch herself as it is a waste.
My question is how does she stand with this in regards to the funding, she is just making ends meet and now will have to pay for her lunch herself,can she get this funding another way for example in vouchers to buy fruit and veg etc
If anyone has any info on this or has been in the same situation I would appreciate as info you can give thanks
I don't think they can do that can they?
If she's entitled to a feee school dinner then that's what she should have, if she doesn't eat all of it they can't say she can't have them any more as it's a waste
I'd get her to ring the LEA and clarify that they are wrong and then I'd get her to tell them they are wrong
they can't with hold free lunches???
is she a fussy eater or does she have specific dietary requirements? they should accommodate if that is the case
It will depend how severe her food issues are. A couple of years ago I taught a child that ate the same cereal bar for breakfast every day, the same sandwich (filling, spread and bread), same yogurt and same chocolate bar every day. She even ate the same processed food dinner every day. If there was even the slightest deviation e.g. change in recipe or the Mum couldn't get the same bread, then the child wouldn't eat. If the food issues are this severe then it is not possible for the school to accomodate it.
my ds has shool dinners and rarely eats them but no one has ever asked him to change to packed lunches. Of course I dont know if that would be the same if they were free. Perhaps her concentration or learning is affected by her not having eaten and hence schools concern I know my DS is better when he has eaten but unfortunately rarely feels hungry. Guess it depends how severe her food issues are as in our situation it really doesnt matter what is served it wont be eaten but could have a piece of fruit.
Thanks everyone for your advice, yes cjbartlett I was thinking the same as you and will advise her to phone the LEA on monday. Constiption she does sound a she is like your DS, the thing is she is in reception class and has only been having lunch for two weeks now as was on half days before this. The advice with fussy eaters is to continue to put a variety of foods in front of them and eating with other children also helps so the school's attitude is a little disappointing really (MUST TRY HARDER )I think lol
I think they would have to provide an alternative like a packed lunch for her tbh.
I don't think they meant to be as mercenary as it sounds. They are concerned that nothing they provide is acceptable and she is going hungry.. Obviously your friend knows what her daughter will eat and it seems the better option to bring something from home. If, for example, the only thing she eats is Kit-Kat sandwiches then it is a waste of a school dinner, the school can hardly be expected to provide this.
I agree with hocuspontas, perhaps they are concerned that she is eating nothing and she really needs to eat something so that by getting mum to send in a packed lunch she may eat some of it. Yes it is a waste of a school dinner but it probably isn't the issue, they just want her to eat something
Waste isn't/can't be an issue as the school gets more money if a child receives free school meals.
If she qualifies for free school meals does her mum get the healthy start vouchers for milk & fruit/veg? DD has free school meals, we also get £3 ish a week to spend on the above, but I'm not sure if that's for both kids or just the younger one (he's 1). Could be worth checking though?
Healthy start vouchers stop at age 4 as they are replaced by the free school meals. I don't think the school can force the mum to send in something else but I think they are just worried. Could mum send something small in each day that she will eat to complement the free lunch?
At my dds school there are 3 options for school meals plus a salad "trolley" which has things like plain bread, cucumber, pineapple chunks etc.
From the information you give, the child's mother needs to meet with the relevant people at the school (lunch time supervisor/teacher/cook or whoever) to look at options.
for example the child may like some of the options, or might be able to make a fairly decent meal up if they will pick at the salad type options. Say for example she might eat bread and cucumber, and then have some roast meat to make a sandwich. Then she may eat fresh fruit or yogurt which are standard puddings along with a more "solid" choice at my dds' school.
Not ideal but if the child has food issues then these need to be addressed.
Possibly the school nurse could advise/make an appropriate referral if the child feels completely unable to eat any of the options at all.
I know at my dd's infant school they were very reluctant to deviate from the menu for any children as it would open the doors for others to say they didn't like one thing, can't you just make me something else instead? It's mass catering, and it would be inconvenient to make up something specially for her every day. You aren't able to forefeit school lunches in order to get funding, it just doesn't work like that. And I do think the school have been misunderstood here, they won't be refusing her a school lunch, I think they'd be concerned if a child wasn't eating and so want the mother to provide somehting she will eat. With respect, what does she plan on doing in the holidays? She'll have to find the money to feed her then. It's annoying if she is entitled to free dinners, but if the child is going hungry, I know I'd rather send her in with a cheap packed lunch.
I would assume that the school are suggesting they provide their own because they are worried she is not eating anything, not because it's a waste. No skin off the school's nose to throw a meal in the bin. They would be more concerned about a hungry/tired/stressed child as a result of the dinners.
The thing is, a lot of Dd's class mates don't eat their packed lunches because all they want to do is get outside to play. Two of my friends are having this problem and they are the ones I know about. The other thing is that they are rushed by supervisors who are under pressure to get the next lot in so, I'm not sure there are any clear cut answers.
My son has justed started reception too. We were asked last week (first week of full days) if he could have packed lunch rather than school meals as he wasn't eating much. We are not on free school meals but it was just he ate more on the days he has a packed lunch. It is likely the school in question are coming from the same angle. The people who said this may not even know the child in question has free school meals?
Thank you every one for your time and comments I do appreciate it and yes I agree she probably needs to sit down with the people at the school and come up with something, she has provided her daughter with packed lunches for two years at Nursery, which she hardly touched either so it is difficult, some children just will not eat much of anything,she may sometimes have a couple of bites of an apple but fruit is available at all times at the school anyway ?? I do count my blessings that my kids have a healthy appetite because I can see how very difficult it is for the parents when their children will not eat
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