Angry parents have blasted the meagre meals served out to students at a local secondary secondary
Wendy Murray created a furore when she shared a picture of the ham and cheese toastie her son was given at Looe Community Academy in Cornwall.
Other parents got in touch with the mum to express the same concerns at the lack of healthy options and the tiny portion sizes
A number of parents said it’s not unusual for their kids to come home starving, reports CornwallLive.
Another said their child had actually hidden food in the school, before because he didn’t want to be told off for not eating it.
“I think it needs to be addressed,” said Wendy.
“There are many people who rely on a hot, healthy edible meal once a day and it’s not just people on the poorer end of the spectrum who need that, it’s busy working families who don’t necessarily have time to cook until later in the evening.
“I just find it shocking and I’m feeling guilty that I haven’t done something about it before but now I have seen it and I’m starting to get pictures from other people I’m not going to sit back and ignore it.”
Wendy believes the picture from her son is supposed to be a cheese and ham toastie, but on checking her ParentPay account, where parents can view what their children are having for lunch, it was noted by staff as a jacket potato.
Another parent said that her son complains every evening about the food on offer and often comes home “starving”.
She said: “My son is supposed to have a so-called school meal each lunchtime but every evening he gets home and moans how disgusting the food was at lunch and when there is something nice there isn’t enough to go around.”
Another parent, who also wishes to remain anonymous, said that both of his children usually eat pretty much anything, but a lot of the time they are buying food from the canteen and chucking it away.
“One of my boys came home yesterday and told me he was starving because his food was so disgusting that he threw it away.
“I didn’t think too much about it but then I spoke to both my children and my oldest said it is really gross and described the wedges as bendy bits of cardboard.
“It’s obviously not expensive but it’s not cheap really either,” he said. “You’re paying £2.80 or something for lunch and if they are just chucking it away it adds up.”
“Both of ours eat pretty much anything as well anyway so when they are throwing it away you do worry.
“My youngest child has even hidden food in the school before because he didn’t want to get told off and he now has packed lunches. “
Explaining the issues with the toastie and the burger, a spokesperson for Looe Community Academy said: “From the image we received, the toasted sandwich does appear to be lacking in ham, but this could have been quickly and easily resolved had the item been returned at the time, or reported to a member of the duty staff.
“Having sought feedback on today’s offer, students said they were pleased with the toastie option as well as with other choices.
“In respect of yesterday’s burger offer, our caterer had run out of the regular burger buns and improvised using baps, which, on reflection, made the burger look rather small. Students are encouraged to make their own food choices, and therefore we provide sauces on the counter as well as sides.”
The school added that students are encouraged to communicate when they are not satisfied with their meal.
“Of course we receive occasional complaints from students, as you might expect when serving hundreds of meals a day, and when these are presented to our duty staff, our students are encouraged to take the item back and either obtain a replacement, alternative or a refund.
“Duty staff will accompany or advocate for any students that are too shy to take things back themselves. A couple of issues were raised by parents/carers in the first half term, as we settled in to the new routines, and these were quickly resolved.”
In terms of portion size and nutritional content, the school says its offer has been evaluated by its caterer’s nutritional team, and that it does comply with the School Food Standards.
“In respect of offering choice, the menu is rotated over a three-week period, with a range of options each day,” the school added.
“We are always receptive to feedback, so that we can develop our services, and we have well-established routes for this.”