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AIBU re school lunches?

(47 Posts)
Stillnoidea Fri 25-May-18 16:54:50

DS's school serves cooked lunches 'family style' ie they serve food to a table of ~10 children and the children help themselves. The school does not allow packed lunches. There are some adults supervising but there is no portion control as the children serve themselves. Over this school year there have been a number of times when DS has only got a very small lunch (eg I chicken goujon only) as the other items have run out on the table (in that case wraps and potatoes) or scraped their plate into the sweetcorn bowl for example.

Here's my AIBU: the school say it is DS's responsibility to ask for more. I really feel it is the school's responsibility to ensure they give him a proper portion. He's only 8! (and if he doesn't like the food obviously he's not going to ask for more).

I have raised this with the school several times and they just say they will supervise (which seems to fade away after a week or so) and that DS needs to ask for more.

At least with a traditional serving line the school knows they have given each child a proper portion to start with, and can also keep an eye on how much of it they eat. I don't think I'm being PFB as he's DC 3.

So, whose responsibility is it to ensure my child gets lunch?

OP’s posts: |
mrsm43s Fri 25-May-18 16:57:35

At 8, he should ask for more.

KirstenRaymonde Fri 25-May-18 16:59:09

Are they putting enough on the table in the first place? Are other children eating huge amounts?

BeyondThePage Fri 25-May-18 17:06:02

I disagree with serving "family style" - kids will not share the nice stuff at that age unless there is a "head of table"

The lunch staff will not keep an eye on how much of it they eat I'm afraid. No matter how it is served.

Former midday supervisor - where we had 2 staff for every 120 kids, a hall that seated only 200 at a time and a rolling lunchbreak to fit 580 kids in 50minutes.

Stillnoidea Fri 25-May-18 17:13:54

kirtsten I don't know. I think some are taking more than their share given foods run out.

mrs really? even if he doesn't like it?

OP’s posts: |
soapboxqueen Fri 25-May-18 17:40:47

There's a few things here.

I've never come across a set up like this so I would assume there is a reason for it eg logistics of serving children sue to school layout.

If he doesn't like the food offered then how much or little of it there is, is irrelevant. If the school do not allow packed lunches then you'll just have to work on this with your ds or plead your case with the school again. Is there a specific reason they don't allow packed lunches?

At 8 he is fully capable of putting his hand up and saying 'our table needs more chicken nuggets please'

Stillnoidea Fri 25-May-18 17:51:32

damn - so it's just me who feels it shouldn't be his responsibility?

OP’s posts: |
BeyondThePage Fri 25-May-18 17:54:22

They will have been given their table allocation of nuggets.

Some ermmmmmm - more assertive - children will have taken what they want first rather than all taking their fair share. (which is why this system is hated and requires supervision - usually by a Year 6)

Frazzled2207 Fri 25-May-18 18:03:39

Hmm whereas it's a nice idea in principle I can't see this being very fair as in most cases the more assertive kids will surely get more lunch.

Stillnoidea Fri 25-May-18 18:20:42

soap I don't know why they don't allow packed lunches. I assume at first it was so that they had enough lunch eaters to make the lunch financially viable (it's a new school). but now there are more children, I don't see why they can't allow them. They are very much of the opinion that if you don't like it you can go elsewhere.

OP’s posts: |
sirfredfredgeorge Fri 25-May-18 18:28:20

even if he doesn't like it?

But I don't really get this point, if he doesn't like it, he's not going to eat it anyway, or are you expecting the teachers to also force him to eat it?

Stillnoidea Fri 25-May-18 18:46:36

sirfred I do think (from previous DC experience) that there are foods they wouldn't ask for but will eat if they are already on the plate. So if they get a tray with lunch they will probably eat it but they wouldn't choose to ask for it if it isn't there.

OP’s posts: |
HopeAndJoy16 Fri 25-May-18 18:50:41

I'm with you OP, if they don't allow packed lunches then they have a responsibility to ensure the children are getting a decent portion at lunchtime. i also think there should be some supervision over portions because it obviously isn't working out fairly. I would keep raising it with the school. Do other parents have any problems with the system?

bookmum08 Fri 25-May-18 18:52:56

You should send him with a packed lunch saying he has been coming home hungry because he isn't being provided with enough food at lunch time. Tell them you prefer to know what he has eaten and prefer that what he does eat is food he actually likes (I really don't understand feeding children food they dislike).

Stillnoidea Fri 25-May-18 18:56:46

Food he doesn't like he'll have to live with - as one of 3 there's no pleasing them all all the time! I might start sneaking some emergency sandwiches in though.

OP’s posts: |
bookmum08 Fri 25-May-18 19:13:24

Also how on earth does the school monitor children with allergies and being vegetarian or eating a kosher or halal diet. At my local primary children who have a specific dietry need wear a lanyard that will say whether they are allergic to something, or veggie or kosher or whatever so the dinner ladies can see not to give that child something even if they ask for it. But children aren't always going to understand what can be in some food or not. Child with allergy might say "I can't eat fish fingers because I am allergic to egg" (which child has been told by parents) buy his friends will say "durr there's no egg in a fish finger" so the child may eat it - where as the dinner lady will know that the fish fingers have been made using egg to keep the coating on and would tell the child "sorry you can't have the fish fingers" because it clearly says on the lanyard Allergic To Egg.

gingergenius Fri 25-May-18 20:05:37

It's a version of the hunger games op. Nothing good can come of it.

Stillnoidea Fri 25-May-18 20:23:40

grin that made me laugh ginger - thanks. The school's attitude has been stressing me a bit.

Thanks all for the input. Will think about what I say to school next over half term.

OP’s posts: |
Tanaqui Fri 25-May-18 20:29:21

Family style can be lovely but you need an adult, or an older child at each table (eg a yr 6 with the yr2s, not the yr 5s!), and portion size needs to be announced/ labelled somewhere- eg 2 fishfingera each. Schools that do this well often have governors/ teachers/ volunteers eating with the children.

BrieAndChilli Fri 25-May-18 20:30:08

Tell School you are only going to pay for 1/3 of School dinner amount seeing as your DS is only getting 1/3 of the food he should!!

sonypony Fri 25-May-18 22:37:36

YANBU. That's crap. There must be plenty of less confident/assertive children who would end up with not enough food and not say anything. In the example above of 2 staff to 120 children even if a child wasn't struggling with being confident to ask sounds like there wouldn't be anyone to ask and by the time he did it would be time for the next sitting to get them all through in 50 mins.

CarrotCakeMuffins Mon 28-May-18 07:51:29

There is a school near me that does family style dinners and no packed lunches like this. They think it is a great method. I wasn't convinced. Is the school UCPS OP?

Alienspaceship Mon 28-May-18 07:57:27

Wow - family style is such a good idea, brilliant and important in developing normal attitudes to eating. I say that as someone with European parents who notices the dysfunctional attitudes and behaviours towards eating in this country of over eaters and faddy eaters. BUT it needs an adult on each table as a lot of children won’t be used to this --civilised --way of eating. wink

CosmicCanary Mon 28-May-18 08:01:04

My DD is painfully shy and would not ask for more. I would not make this daft set up her problem and force her to be more assertive as that is not who she is. Why should she be punished/told off because she is not as assertive as others?

This would drive me spare OP YANBU.

Spottytop1 Mon 28-May-18 08:12:28

My dc school did this, but each table had an older pupil ( prefect) who served/supervised along with adults over seeing. Maybe the school need to introduce this?

The school need to acknowledge this isn't working for everyone and if you are paying for a meal your dc should get a meal

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