Only cold food to be provided to limited number of infants

(30 Posts)
AfolMummy Thu 03-Sep-20 11:08:34

Hi all just wondering if anyone else's school is only providing cold food to a limited number of infant children at school (the years that would normally get free school meals)? We have been told we are to provide them with a packed lunch and they will only provide (a cold) lunch if we are really unable to. The thing is other schools locally are providing a packed hot lunch for their infants. I'm just wondering what they are doing with all the funding the Government gives to provide free school meals to those year groups. It also appears to be against the Government advise online . Many of the children don't eat cold food like sandwiches (mine included), many parents did not expect the extra expense, many working parents have limited time in the mornings and we've just been informed with a few days to go until school opens. Is this the case with your school too?

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Eccle80 Thu 03-Sep-20 11:59:56

We were just told yesterday that our school won’t have hot food, only sandwiches. Apparently it is down to the catering company having to restrict numbers in their kitchen, but I would have thought they could come up with more choice within the limitations they have.

I wondered about the funding side too, it sounds like most will now send a packed lunch instead of getting their free meal

AfolMummy Thu 03-Sep-20 12:07:59

Ah ok thanks, that reasoning makes sense about social distancing in the kitchen. However our particular school wants all infants to bring a packed lunch and will only provide one if parents are really not able to hence parents concerns about where the funding for school meal provision is being directed too....🤔

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Eccle80 Thu 03-Sep-20 12:12:52

That sounds even worse, I definitely wouldn’t have thought they should be actively encouraging parents not to have the free meals

For me having to make a packed lunch (as I know the sandwich bags they do are rubbish) is just an inconvenience, but I do worry that some families rely on the school lunches for their children to get one decent meal a day

Bollss Thu 03-Sep-20 12:16:22

our primary is only doing cold packed lunches. Wouldn't confirm either way if all entitled children got one!! Not really sure what to do but luckily ds has a settling in session before starting so i can ask then and presumably someone will have to tell me!

HathorX Thu 03-Sep-20 12:20:32

No hot food provided at our local primary. Just a really awful prepared pack of sandwiches and some salad/fruit if you need lunch provided. Honestly I've seen those cold lunches and they are dreadful and repetitive because they have to provide safe options that most children will like. And there are no treats of any kind, because school can't provide unhealthy food (although with hot lunches it didn't stop them serving cake and custard!)

I'm sending DD with packed lunch, sometimes cold, sometimes a Thermos of pasta or soup or noodles or risotto.

trilbydoll Thu 03-Sep-20 12:23:02

The infant school is doing its best to provide a decent cold menu so they'll have pizza slices and other things that are a bit more exciting than sandwiches.

The junior school only appears to be providing sandwiches so far which I'm not prepared to pay for so dd has taken a pack lunch today.


Roomba Thu 03-Sep-20 12:23:53

DS's school has suspended the normal menu. Only sandwiches and baked potatoes will be available. No idea what DS1's school is doing as they haven't communicated anything - I'll have to ask him tonight (he takes a packed lunch).

kidsdrivingmemad Thu 03-Sep-20 12:25:21

Our primary school is doing hot food. It is made onsite though.

MillieEpple Thu 03-Sep-20 12:28:06

I dont think they will get the funding if they arent providing the meals. Schools have to submit how many meals they make on census day and the funding is based on that.

RB68 Thu 03-Sep-20 12:30:04

I think this depends on whether you have a dedicated service and kitchen or not - so those bringing it in are very limited in terms of the kitchens producing, they are usually in hot trollies and these would need to be cleansed on transfer and also all the trays with the food in etc - complete nightmare but this is what happens when you try and shortcut processes leaves you open to risk in situations like this. The money is probably being used for other Covid protection measures after all the money has to come from somewhere

Notashandyta Thu 03-Sep-20 12:30:51

Can understand about the children eating food side if it, but why would you wonder about where the funding going? If things are being provided in a limited way and it's out of the school's control, do they really have to explain this? Have they not got enough to deal with ar the moment? Unless you think it may be heading into the head's personal account, then yabu to harass the school about this. They will obviously be using the funds to school the pupils in some way! Probably the free school children...

Aroundtheworldin80moves Thu 03-Sep-20 12:33:45

Usual options here.
Free lunch available for KS1- two hot options, Jacket potato and sandwiches (all pre-ordered on an App). Packed lunch only permitted if the school lunch is suitable.
KS2- free lunch available to those on FSM. Everyone else can pay £2. Again ordered on the App. Packed lunches permitted though.

Wtfdoipick Thu 03-Sep-20 12:36:50

full meal options here for my daughter's primary. She started back on Tuesday and has had a hot meal both days.

AfolMummy Thu 03-Sep-20 13:03:32

Wow so it really varies from school to school then. Tbh Notashandyta the fact that local schools nearby are able to provide hot meals to their infant years made it a bit odd that our school were doing something different and actively asking parents to provide packed lunch for our children. I'm guessing from these replies it's to do with not being able to make hot food provision covid safe but it would have been helpful to have an explanation or prior notice of the changes. Guess I'll be buying a food thermos this weekend then smile. Thanks for all your replies.

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HandfulofDust Thu 03-Sep-20 17:50:31

I do think it's an issue for the families who can just about afford lunches and might feel they can't request a free one but have to really stretch.

I think the inconvenience to working parents is kind of annoying but is suck it up (just prep something the night before or send them in with leftovers).

AfolMummy Thu 03-Sep-20 18:00:03

Yes you're right. We have been told they'll review the situation after a few weeks so it might just be temporary anyway (hopefully!).

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Eccle80 Thu 03-Sep-20 23:34:41


I dont think they will get the funding if they arent providing the meals. Schools have to submit how many meals they make on census day and the funding is based on that.

That could really mess things up for schools then if uptake is very low whilst it is sandwiches only on census day, then later in the year hot meals come back and more want them again (assuming census day affects funding for the whole year)

And presumably the catering companies will struggle if they are only paid based on the number of meals ordered?

ineedaholidaynow Fri 04-Sep-20 00:23:58

Many Primaries are asking children to eat in their classrooms, and that might make it difficult to transport hot food to the classrooms depending on distance between the classrooms and the kitchen.

ineedaholidaynow Fri 04-Sep-20 00:25:46

It may also be a temporary measure until schools find their feet and see how everything else goes first.

Rudolphian Fri 04-Sep-20 21:11:00

In ours they have to eat in their classrooms.
So they have two sandwich choices cheese/ tuna. Or something else today it was a pizza slice in a packet. Yesterday it was samosa.
Mine is really picky with food. So she has chosen a cheese sandwich 3 days running. Apparently it's just a slice of cheese in bread. And then they have a snack, crisps/ yoghurt/ or a cake slice. With fruit.
Mine wont eat the crisps or yoghurt.
I've told her to pick something different. So we'll see what she does next week. But if shes just eating a plain cheese sandwich everyday we will have to look into possibly giving her a packed lunch. I'm not happy with that continuing. It's just more work making the lunch and making sure I've got a suitable snack.

Cutesbabasmummy Fri 04-Sep-20 22:09:12

My son has just started year 1 and the whole school are getting hot lunches, with the usual choice of a meat or veggie option. There is an on site kitchen but they take the food to each classroom on a trolley.

mafsfan Fri 04-Sep-20 22:35:15

Kind of the opposite problem but is anybody else's school saying children in reception and key stage 1 must have the free school meal? In DS's school they have said pupils in ks1 and reception are not allowed to have a packed lunch from home but the school are only serving a limited, junk food menu. I'm not happy with the food they are serving and having no choice to send a lunch which DS would prefer.

ineedaholidaynow Fri 04-Sep-20 22:47:43

They probably want you to do that until census day in October to help their funding

StatesOfMatter Sat 05-Sep-20 07:17:57

On pack lunches (even temporarily) then need to comply with school food standards
(Note: canned tuna does not count as oily fish as the canning process destroys the oils)

Lots of other documents on the web about school food standards.

If you have a concern about school meals you should email the Chair of Governors or the Governing Body as they are the ones responsibly for maintaining school meals - the head enacts the decision.

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