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School makes children eat their lunch outside everyday

52 replies

conniedescending · 14/09/2015 17:57

The school has grown significantly in the last few years but the school hall has not been extended. As a result children in key stage 2 are required to eat their lunch outside as hall is taken up with key stage 1 children and hot dinners. That's fine in the summer or on fine days when it's dry but every year it irritates me as they continue to eat out in the rain or on very cold days. I Am told a classroom is available when it's pouring with rain but in practice it's very rare.

Last time I raised this I was told that children could eat indoors if requested but in practice the dinner ladies don't let them in or they have to wait outside the hall for the entire playtime for hot dinners to finish meaning they get no time to play outside.

I am not happy with this at all and think my children don't eat much in the winter as a result because they"'really too cold or it's too wet to sit down anywhere. They all ate outside today in drizzly rain standing up and I am cross about this. So, before I complain again, AIBU?

OP posts:

Scobberlotcher · 14/09/2015 18:01

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DoJo · 14/09/2015 18:01

YANBU - can't they do a phased lunch time to ensure that there is time for everyone to eat in the hall? Apart from anything, surely the move towards 'healthy lunchboxes' means that more and more people are bringing in stuff which can't necessarily be eaten easily when standing up or without a suitable surface? I would imagine that suggesting a possible solution will probably go down better than just a straight complaint, but it's pretty poor that they are failing to provide a suitable space for children to eat in the middle of the day.


patterkiller · 14/09/2015 18:02

I would complain. Poor little mites. I assume the head doesn't stand in the yard eating lunch in the rain. There should be provision to sit and be covered from the weather, actually this goes for hit sunny days too.


dementedpixie · 14/09/2015 18:03

Our school staggers the lunchtimes so they go in shifts rather than all at once. It is a combined campus so there are 2 schools worth of children to get fed at lunchtime


OhYeahMama · 14/09/2015 18:04

YANBU - could you harness other parental support and petition the head that way?


StarlingMurmuration · 14/09/2015 18:04

No, I think that's appalling. Poor little thing! YANBU at all.


Jw35 · 14/09/2015 18:06

YANBU how grim!


InimitableJeeves · 14/09/2015 18:10

If the response last time was that they are allowed in to eat, go back to the head and say that in practice that doesn't happen or, if it does, they are made to wait outside the hall throughout the lunch break till KS1 and hot dinners have finished. If, as they say, a classroom is available, please could she make sure that dinner ladies are instructed that children are not to be made to eat outdoors and that that classroom is to be available every lunchtime, irrespective of the weather. I imagine there may well also be days when it is too hot for them to be outdoors, particularly if there's not much shade.

And if that doesn't work, make a formal complaint to the governors, pointing out that there are serious health issues involved here, and that is it clearly inappropriate to discriminate against one sector of the pupil population.


conniedescending · 14/09/2015 18:11

Suggested staggered lunchtimes but the head doesn't want to pay dinner ladies for longer. Other parents also annoyed but many don't realise it's happening

OP posts:

FuckOffJeffrey · 14/09/2015 18:11

YANBU. My friends DD is at a school that does packed lunches outside. They have a shelter with benches but I still think it's a bit unfair. I wouldn't like to have to eat my lunch outside every day when it's cold and wet.


conniedescending · 14/09/2015 18:14

Yes they were outside in midday sun eating lunch but they do have parasols etc. mine took their coats off to sit on today. Plus they like to make their own wraps but it's impossible to do that standing up

OP posts:

madmotherof2 · 14/09/2015 18:17

I'm a school dinner lady, our system is....

Reception- eat in hall at 11.50
KS1 - packed lunches in classrooms @12
Years 3-5 - if it's warm and sunny then they eat outside, if not then we have a Rota system. A dinner lady holds up a coloured card telling a year group to head to the hall for lunch. If it's wet play, packed lunches are in classrooms

Year 6- packed lunches in classroom

YANBU, we'd never let the children eat outside unless it's particularly warm and dry


WhimsicalTwattery · 14/09/2015 18:17

My DDs school has the same issue with the hall not being big enough for hot dinners and packed lunches.
In her school the class teacher of children with packed lunches stays in their classroom for 20-30 minutes whilst they eat their lunch and supervise the children. Don't see why the head couldn't do something similar.


ShadowLine · 14/09/2015 18:21


Staggered lunchtime would seem to be the obvious answer. Would it be possible to get all the parents to petition the head? They probably pay more attention then.


Finola1step · 14/09/2015 18:23

That's grim.

There's lots a school can do. Rotas, staggered lunchtimes, one classroom to be used. This could be rotated over the course of a term so 1 week in one class and the another. This will mean its not the same poor teacher and TA having a load of packed lunches in their room.

How many children are we talking?


Gileswithachainsaw · 14/09/2015 18:28

That's disgraceful. how are thy supposed to eat with no where to put stuff down and have a hand free to open stuff. who wants to eat outside in the cold?

surely they can use the art room or music room or whatever room isn't going to he used immediately after lunch due to pe (gives time to clear up).

they will have to stagger than and shock horror pay teh dinner ladies and/or head can get off her arse and deal with it personally.

poor kids


Witchend · 14/09/2015 18:32

At ks1 they had benches on or out. Even on the foulest days most of the children chose to eat outside. The dinner ladies would much preferred them inside.


Hulababy · 14/09/2015 18:35

School needs to provide enough cover to ensure all children can eat their lunch in comfort, and out of the rain and cold. And it shouldn't have to be a teacher or TA covering it ideally - they need time too, for lunch and for prep before the afternoon session starts.

Part of the issue will be that, because of the introduction of all KS1 being offered free hot meals, more younger children are staying for hot lunches - and they take longer to eat. However, this isn't the first year of the system - the school have had a year to get this sorted out.

Here, hot lunches eat in the hall, as do foundation stage packed lunches. KS1 have packed lunch outside in the garden, if the weather is dry and warm enough (have sun shelter, and have benches/tables) If not, they eat packed lunch in a classroom - the room is supervised by a lunchtime assistant.


stopfaffing · 14/09/2015 18:39

OP, that sounds awful Sad.

At one school I worked at a few years ago we had a rota for packed lunches, hot school lunches, cold school lunches.

When the bell went for lunchtime everyone who had order a hot lunch went into the hall first for lunch and everyone else went outside to play.

As room became available a lunch supervisor would hold up a large laminated card at the dining room door with a class name on and everyone who had ordered a cold school lunch came inside class by class for their lunch.

Packed lunches came after that. Its not perfect but far more civilised than sitting outside in the cold/wet.


ShakesBootyFlabWobbles · 14/09/2015 18:39



GoblinLittleOwl · 14/09/2015 19:22



yeOldeTrout · 14/09/2015 19:27

Did OP say the kids are A) in the UK, and B) eating somewhere without a roof?


Sallyhasleftthebuilding · 14/09/2015 19:30

School does staggered Ks1 at 11.50 supervised by teaching staff til 12, KS2 at 12.10. When a lit of KS1 have left. No additional staff needed.


Seriouslyffs · 14/09/2015 19:36

All the children ate packed lunch outside at my children's primary school.
in Australia
Bonkers idea- I'd be raising merry hell.


TheRealAmyLee · 14/09/2015 19:42

Our kids school does staggered lunches so everyone can eat inside.

I would talk to other parents and kick up a fuss as a group.

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