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School Meals - do you have to order?

(19 Posts)
dajen Thu 01-May-14 17:38:05

The school I work at currently allows children to choose each day if they want a school meal or a packed lunch. As we have plenty of history we can anticipate what demand is likely to be on any given day in the 3 week menu cycle and can cope with minor flucuations.

With the introduction of free meals for infants in September we have no way of knowing what demand will be from day to day and will need a system of pre ordering so we know how much food to order each week. (We have surveyed parents but obviously only a percentage replied and what they say now and what they do in September will probably be different)

From what I've read on here I know lots of schools already expect you to pre order meals so I would welcome any suggestions of systems that work (or not) that we could consider introducing.

It will be hard for parents who have always been used to the flexibility we have offered up to now so I would really appreciate your help.

PatriciaHolm Thu 01-May-14 17:45:09

We have to specify whether we want school meals or packed lunch and have to give two weeks notice to change, so school should always know 2 weeks in advance who is having meals and who is not.

AmandaTanen Thu 01-May-14 17:47:48

We get a choice slip home every Friday, to be returned on the Monday. It's a 3 week cycle of meals. So i guess they guess the amount required for the Monday meals.

ImaginaryPoster Thu 01-May-14 20:24:51

We inform the school on Monday what DC will be having for the week. Full time school dinner DC can pay termly.

The trouble our school is considering is the fact they anticipate all reception and KS1 will intend to have school meals termly but then swap and change daily, leading to alot of waste. The only solution they have thought of is to still ask parents to inform the school weekly.

blueberryboybait Thu 01-May-14 20:32:28

We can order termly for the 3 week cycles or you can order weekly but orders have to be in by Friday 9am. All our food is cooked fresh on site daily so once they have the morning registers through with food choices the can cater for any extras on top of the regular orders.

In September all infants have to order in advance for the whole term - they will still do occasional changes but we are not allowed to order weekly. They are going to attempt the no packed lunches unless medical reasons. from January onwards.

poshme Thu 01-May-14 20:33:43

We get a menu termly. We can order a am whole term in advance, or weekly, or a few weeks now and a few weeks later. But - and this is non-negotiable: the order has to be in on Monday morning for the following week. We can have every day, or random days as long as its ordered the Monday before.
I don't mind, but would much prefer online ordering rather than cheques & little slips of paper.

Galena Thu 01-May-14 22:14:46

We can decide each day what to have - so when we discovered the kitchen was full of ants on Tuesday DD had a hot lunch so I didn't have to work round dh, who was de-anting.

Xihha Thu 01-May-14 23:05:12

We can only order termly, orders in the week before the end of the previous term (new parents are asked to choose on the induction day) at DDs school and you can't pick which days to have school lunch, it's either every day or not at all, which is awful. at DS's its weekly, ordered on the Friday which works quite well.

minklydzo Fri 02-May-14 11:20:33

My DS is at a new free school - only the reception class in at the moment. All the children have school lunch - we were actively discouraged from having packed lunches. Next year when there'll be 2 classes and it'll be free - I'm sure there wont even be an option of packed lunch.
I've found this policy to be really helpful as the fussy eaters are all eating much better and are happily munching on all the hidden fruit and veg and even the children with food allergies are doing really well.. - there's a couple who cant have egg- one completely dairy free and a gluten free too.

PastSellByDate Fri 02-May-14 12:59:42


Our school handles YR but asking each parent at the interview in July what they want to do about lunches in advance.

I think they encourage parents to go all or nothing, rather than say I'll try it out for a week - but they do make it clear that if you give 2 weeks notice you can stop school dinners and go over to bringing a packed lunch.

Many parents around her like packed lunches in Autumn - Spring/ Summer but prefer school dinners over the winter.


BackforGood Fri 02-May-14 13:06:09

My dc were lucky enough to have a system like yours, where they chose on the morning - it balances out, as you say, and minor fluctuations can be coped with when catering for those numbers. Why do you feel that it will start to fluctuate more widely because people aren't paying for the meals ?

Jinty64 Fri 02-May-14 13:29:10

We pay on a Monday for however many lunches we want that week but the children select from the two choices, at registration, on the day. If I had told the school that ds was having packed lunch on Wednesday but forgot to send it he would be offered a school lunch although he would insist they phoned me and get me to deliver his packed lunch. I could also ask for him to have school lunch on the day and send the money but they discourage this.

Ds will be P4 (Y3) after the summer so we will still be paying sad

PeterParkerSays Fri 02-May-14 13:42:03

We have a 3 week menu rotation and a slip home on the Thursday to go back on the Monday saying whether your child wants the veggie or meat option on any given day - there's a grid of the veggie and meat option each day on one side of the slip and a tick box on the other so you could choose to have just one meal a week if you wanted, but the form does have to go in on Monday with the money.

haggisaggis Fri 02-May-14 13:44:15

At both primary schools (small, rural, meals cooked off site) that my dc attended meals were ordered and paid for that week on the Monday. dc also had to choose on the Monday what they would eat for the week - although at current school they apparently double check with the dc every morning so there is some opportunity for change..
At lunchtimes the dc are handed a coloured card corresponding to their meal choice so they get given the correct meal (although mistakes are made and dd has on occasion had to eat something she didn't order)

LauraChant Fri 02-May-14 13:51:59

We order on Monday the meals wanted for not that week but the week after, and pay then too. There is a choice of veggie, non veggie and jacket potato each day and it is a three week rolling menu. DS always has school dinners and always the "main" option so its no more hassle for us than any other system, just tick the same boxes every Monday and hand over a cheque for �10.

BurdenedWithGloriousPurpose Fri 02-May-14 14:04:20

I'm now wondering how my DS's school manages it as the children just pick what they want when in the queue for lunch.

Goldendandelion Fri 02-May-14 14:43:53

We can choose on the day. I haven't heard anything about that changing in September and hopefully it won't.

Clutterbugsmum Fri 02-May-14 14:50:45

No. You either have cooked dinner or packed lunch.

They have a choice of two lunches, but if you are last in then they have what left.

TimeForAnotherNameChange Sun 04-May-14 14:41:37

In our school you are either on school lunches every day, committed to for a whole term at a time, or you being your own packed lunch for the whole term, there is no chopping and changing. Children order their food for the week at registration on Monday morning, and there is a three week rotating menu. There is however a packed lunch option as part of the school provided choices (meat, veggie, sandwich).

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