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Is the threat of removing a 5/6 yr old's lunch for not eating it within a small timescale standard practice?

(34 Posts)
Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 16:31:18

My DS (5) has told me that a TA told his table and others that their food would be removed if they hadn't eaten it within the next minute. DS is a slowish eater but he did eat his lunch, his friend although wanted to finish his lunch had it removed. They were late into lunch because the class was kept in to practice tidying up and sitting down properly. Ds said there was hardly any time to eat. Does this sound harsh or normal?

MrsLettuce Thu 18-Apr-13 16:34:40

Sounds quite harsh to me. A set time from starting would maybe be acceptable but a set finish time that takes no account of the teacher letting them out late really doesn't seem right. 5 is still so wee - they need there food!

MrsLettuce Thu 18-Apr-13 16:35:16

need their food

wheresthebeach Thu 18-Apr-13 16:39:13

They have to finish lunch and go back to class. If lunch gets extended to suit slow eaters it could last all afternoon! I'd be more irritated with the teacher sending them in late.

cornyponydash Thu 18-Apr-13 16:42:11


I worked in schools where slow eaters are allowed to have some time to sit and finish their lunch. Most children eat up quickly once their friends disappear out to play.

Smartiepants79 Thu 18-Apr-13 16:42:28

Sounds a little harsh.
Are you completely sure of the facts? How long do they normally get, how long did they get this time? Children have very little understanding of time passing!
Had they been chatting/messing around?
Not saying your DS is wrong but children don't always see things the way an adult would and miss the bigger picture. I wouldn't worry too much unless it occurs regularly.

BeerTricksPotter Thu 18-Apr-13 16:43:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 16:46:48

Yes, I did think it sounded a bit harsh. I'm slightly worried as DS is so slow at eating, that in all likeliness he will come out of school having only eaten 1/2 a pitta bread or bagel all day, if his food gets taken away.

BeerTricksPotter Thu 18-Apr-13 16:51:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MNBlackpoolandFylde Thu 18-Apr-13 16:51:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bert2e Thu 18-Apr-13 16:56:03

He needs to learn to eat faster I'm afraid - schools have several sittings of lunch to get through and can't wait for children to fiddle with their lunch all day. At home how long does he take to eat lunch?

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 16:58:26

Smartiepants, I've only heard it from DS, he doesn't talk much about school and so I would imagine he's not totally making it up. He said it in a jokey way, as in, 'We only just got into the hall and we weren't eating for very long when Mr H said we had a minute to finish or food would be taken away.'. The minute was up and DS told me that Mr H took his friend's remaing food despite him still wanting it. I know the Mum quite well so it might be a way of checking if what he is saying is fairly accurate.

BeerTricksPotter Thu 18-Apr-13 17:02:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 17:04:41

He takes about 15 minutes at home. I appreciate what your saying Bert2e but they don't get long by all accounts and are always been told to hurry up. It is the first time they have made this threat. Ds has told me that a lot of children are told to hurry so I doubt they're all slow eaters.

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 17:13:19

BeerTricksPotter, yes he does bring home his uneaten food. He was very slow last year but he was one of the youngest in his class and I think that had a lot to do with it. He is really keen to get out to play and sometimes leaves food for that reason. The TAs check what they've eaten and decide whether they can go out to play. Given that is the case and he sometimes comes home with half a sandwich then they must think that is an acceptable amount to eat.

BeerTricksPotter Thu 18-Apr-13 17:18:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 17:30:18

Yes half of 'everything' would but DS has said there is no time to eat extras and so he only has a sandwich, bagel or pitta bread with a drink. Therefore he eats half of that for the school day and sometimes a carrot or apple at snack time. He used to take an additional thing like a bag of mini chedders or breadsticks or something like that but he says they are no allowed to eat them with their sandwich and there is often no time to have them afterwards. I know this is true as my friend was complaining about her Dd not being allowed to do this. I understand that's probably to ensure children don't just have snacks for lunch but they are often told there is no time to have these additional things unless you're really fast.

TreesAndFlowers Thu 18-Apr-13 17:36:30

DD's (infant) school lets the children in by year groups so in theory the Reception children could have an hour to eat their lunch, and often the Y2 children only have about 5-10 minutes. If they go in late they may literally have a couple of minutes.

(DD tends to talk a lot which also cuts down her eating time).

Myliferocks Thu 18-Apr-13 17:42:03

The infants my DC attended did it the other way round.
The yr 2 & 1 children went in first and the reception children were second sitting.
This meant the R children weren't being rushed so the older children would have time to eat.

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 17:46:57

If lunch is an hour, I don't understand why lunch is not 20 minutes at least. I'm just thinking back to when I was at school, we had a main lunch, didn't seem rushed and then we queued for dessert. We then went out to play.

Fuckwittery Thu 18-Apr-13 17:53:46

I worry about this as well, our school's dining room is tiny and can only fit in 2 classes at a time, so there are 4 sittings. so I'm guessing they only get 15 minutes each, and DD is a terribly slow eater. She often asks me not to send such a big sandwich, I know she would eat it all given the time, but just doesn't get a chance to finish it. I would chat to the school and see what their provision is for slow eaters generally.

BeerTricksPotter Thu 18-Apr-13 17:54:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goldenbear Thu 18-Apr-13 18:06:22

Thanks for the advice, on balance a chat to the teacher seems justified- phrasing it in a diplomatic way.

Periwinkle007 Thu 18-Apr-13 19:15:22

DDs school they get about 10-15 mins to eat I think, they have to sit on the floor in the classroom or on the ground outside when weather good unless they have hot lunches.

MoaningYoniWhingesAgain Thu 18-Apr-13 19:31:54

Periwinkle - do they really have to sit on the floor to eat their lunch ? shock

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