Furious parents have blasted a primary school after "strict and ridiculous" new school lunch rules were revealed.

Welton Primary School told parents they now must pre-order their children's school dinners up to eight weeks in advance.

And they must either sign their children up to school dinners every day, or a packed lunch every day - not a mixture.

It means parents will have to decide at the beginning of a new term whether their child would like to take their own food every single day for the entire term or eat school's food - with some terms lasting up to eight weeks.

Under the new rules, children can no longer mix and match and have hot meals on some days and packed lunches on others.

Before the new rules were brought in, parents have said they would allow their children to have a mixture of hot meals and packed lunches during a week, with the decision based on what they were planning for tea and what their child did or didn't like on the school's menu.

Parents have labelled the new rules "strict and ridiculous" - but the school say it was forced to bring them in due to the old system was causing a financial loss to the school.

The letter was sent to parents without consultation

Without prior consultation the school sent a letter to inform parents.

It reads: "Parents must decide whether they would like their child/children to have a hot school meal every day or a packed lunch every day, for the entire half term, ie there will no longer be an option to have a mixed meal pattern."

The letter tells parents the decision has not "been made lightly" and was due to a variety of reasons, including the cost of school meal provision, waste and "administration of the meals becoming a disproportionate financial cost to the school."

 

One parent, who does not wish to be named said they are furious about the new rules and about the lack of prior consultation with parents.

The headteacher says there has been a 'small number' of complaints

They said: "Basically we have to pre-book our children's meal pattern a term at a time which we all found off.

"Some children chose mixed meal patterns but we have been told we can't now do this which I find ridiculous and very unfair.

"Other schools do this daily and for some children a hot meal at lunch could be their only hot meal that day.

"I have tried challenging this with the school and at no point has the head bothered contacting me."

The parent said they disputes the fact the administration time takes so long, questioning why other schools are able to offer children a choice.

They said: "By implementing a policy which says my child has to have all or nothing, the school are either forcing my child to eat something they do not like or want or they are trying to force me to pay for a meal and also provide a packed lunch so that my child does not go hungry on these days.

"The reason the school are doing this due to admin time spent on it, which should take no time at all and other schools successfully manage this."

One mum, who also did not wish to be named said a lot of parents have been complaining to the headteacher about the new rules.

She said: "The problem with it is that a lot of children do not like the school meals every day, so my daughter would only take her own lunch when there was something on the menu she did not like.

"Now, if we opt for hot meals and she doesn't like it, I will have to pay for the meal she does not even have and also send a home lunch in on those days too which is a complete waste of money."

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The new school-dinner rules come after the school came under fire earlier this year when some parents exposed what they described as "weird rules" where they described playtime as being "like a prison."

Parents complained that children were not allowed to choose who they play with during playtime and about new classes being formed every year.

What Welton Primary School say

Headteacher Nikki Pidgeon said there are good reasons why the new school dinner rules have been brought in.

She said: "We are asking parents to choose at the start of each half-term whether they wish their child to have a hot meal or a home-provided packed lunch for that session of six to eight weeks.

“Previously they could book for their child to have either a school meal or bring their own lunch on different days each week."

She added: “The level of changes daily and weekly made it difficult to make the appropriate arrangements for staffing levels and ordering food. 

"The school was making a financial loss on school meals, which were having to be subsidised from other parts of our budget.

"We have had a very small number of complaints from parents about these changes, which will enable us to plan more efficiently and continue providing high quality school meals without having to cut costs in other areas.”

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