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Free school dinner/lunch for all! Ridiculous!

Discussion in 'Personal' started by delmamerchant, Apr 22, 2017.

  1. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I'm slightly bemused by the posts at the beginning of the thread that imply that school dinners will ensure a healthy and quality diet for all.
    As soon as people are fed en masse by an outsourced company then considerations of health are always put second to considerations of profit. (I'd also be interested in investigating the relationship between economising and food miles, but that's not the topic here...). And the more people you feed, the more scope for economising there is; but coincidentally the biggest wholesale % discounts can only be attained on the unhealthiest products. (Look in CostCo if you ever get the chance, it's a good walk-in example)

    And even if we were to assume a catering company which achieved an acceptable level of healthy food, I still agree with @Calpurnia99, that the outrageous level of pickiness that children are now reared into would guarantee two things. Firstly- a huge level of wastage due to required statutory covers versus inevitable rejection. Secondly those who got wise to whatever yuk they would have to face that day would simply load their boots with sweets in the morning to get them through without feeling hunger. The wealthiest children habitually eating the worst carp.
    That's one way to turn the tables!
    wanet likes this.
  2. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I would not have been AT ALL happy with this, school meals are stupidly expensive and very poor value for money for working parents. You pay £2.50-£5.00 for food worth about £1-£1.50

    Of course the extra cost is in paying the staff etc,

    so what you are saying is take money off child benefit to pay for staff to prepare my child's food, cook and clear up.

    I want to prepare my child's food myself, cook and clear it up, and spend the money on GOOD FOOD!!!!
    Laphroig, Lara mfl 05 and sbkrobson like this.
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I get that it is good value for cafeteria food, but the whole idea of using a cafeteria every day would be out side of my price range.
  4. install

    install Star commenter

    It wouldn't take much to turn the current stuff being churned out into something better though...if schools cannot even attempt to try healthier dinners than that would be a missed opportunity. Sbkrobson may be slightly bemused at attempts by schools to tackle the problems with this and even obesity, but a healthy menu is a serious matter for young children all over the country..
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Waste of money.

    I could afford to feed my family without state aid. Money can be better spent.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Why should the school meals cost so much if all pupils get them - good quality, healthy meals - for free? Child benefit - sometimes used by parents to buy cigarettes, alcohol etc. would be targeted at something good for their children (and they would benefit by not having to pay for school lunches or a packed lunch).

    Nothing to stop you providing good meals with the rest of the child benefit when your children are at home...
    TCSC47 and install like this.
  7. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    I agree; we have experience of our primary school ending up in just such a situation. No kitchen facilities at the school meant out sourcing and that meant deliveries of small lukewarm portions of the worst type of airline food, looking as though it was sourced, made and handled for minimum cost and no regard to quality. Complaints and falling take-up led the initiative to be binned, as was a similar try with another company.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Frankwolley, most of the cost of school meals is the SERVICE, not the FOOD. I don't want to, and can't afford to pay for the SERVICE. I spend child benefit on FOOD.

    All the child benefit I receive would not cover the cost of school meals, not even close.

    However, it does cover the cost of far better quality, home cooked food.
    colpee, sbkrobson and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Sorry - disagree 100%. I remember going on a school exchange (as a teacher) to France a few years ago - every day they had free lunches, excellent food, and learned to sit at tables and eat what they were given. It was a very cohesive period of each school day, and may be one reason why you see far fewer obese children (& adults) in France than you do in the UK.

    If I were dictator for one day, this is a change I would introduce straight away.
    install likes this.
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I am pretty familiar with attempts made by schools to tackle healthy eating, I'm not sure why you think I'd be bemused to know them!
    Can you get more bemused by a catering tray of strawberry filled jelly, scored across top to create 36 squares, each square topped by a Dream Topping dollop. Healthy? Yes! It's got soggy tinned strawberries in it. Healthy? Yes! It's got something sh*t on top which has less fat than cream! Healthy? Yes! It's sugar free jelly so not as bad for teeth even though the aspartame can make a kid doo lally. Economical enough to cover the costs? Yes! It's 1.63 pence per portion, which is just on target for the books. But...and here we go...only if you rinse the unused tray loads at the end of session under a luke warm running tap, pat dry with a tea towel and then add new dream topping the next day. Still fat and sugar free, still got one of your five, still tasty. Still something I wouldn't feed my dog.
    Still hungry anyone?
    colpee and dunnocks like this.
  11. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    No. That is not the reason.
    There is less obesity in France because their entire attitude to food is different. They cook from fresh and eat far fewer processed foods, ready meals and fast food.
  12. install

    install Star commenter

    Sounds like 'sour grapes' to me skrobson and bad past experiences...:p

    Obesity is on the rise and schools need to provide healthier options. It is a pity that there are bad examples out there...but it would be a good place for schools to start 'fresh'...:)

    It maybe also be a 'mindset' with certain foods that is the real issue here e.g. sugary foods, but healthy is the way to go in my opinion...and school food is a great place for that change to happen.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  13. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    And that may begin at home, but is reinforced by the way they deal with school meals.
  14. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    this would be VERY poor value for money. The food is low quality, and there is often not enough of it. It is mass produced, little choice ,and not tailored toward individuals, like home cooked meals are.

    At home I can choose; hot meals on a cold day, high carb meals before an intensive training session, or after one, low diary meals for a child with fewer european genes, ( and therefore less diary tolerance), high vit D meals for a child with lower vit D levels, higher fat meals for underweight child, special meals for after a hard day, lower calories for a child who might genuinely need lower calories ( and it isn't the children who need to that choose low calorie meals at school) bigger or smaller meals as appropriate, more veg for a day when less veg has been eaten, more fibre for a day when less fibre has been eaten, favourite meals, and I can avoid less favoured meals, more iron for girls,etc.

    A school dinner normal just consists of a generic sandwich, or a something and potato, and is frequently the same size for a tiny studious year 7 girl who comes to school by car, or a 6 foot 2 year 11 boy who has already played three hours of football that day, and will shortly be walking 4 miles home.....

    Giving every child in the country mass produced, generic , cheap as possible lunch ( some children don't even eat at lunch, but eat at break or after school) is a crazy idea.

    taking away our child benefit to pay people to produce mass produced, cheap as possible, generic lunch would be insane.

    I have normally provided a simple pack lunch in the day, and a proper cooked meal in the evenings. At slightly more flush times I have paid money into my children's accounts so they can use the cafeteria system at school for lunch or snacks. This is a very poor use of money, I know that and they know that, but I don't begrudge it IF I can afford it. Its a nonsense luxury, not a cost effective way of providing nutrition to a child.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
    Laphroig and colpee like this.
  15. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    There is no dispute about this, Frankwooley, just simply go into your school kitchen and ask the VALUE of the food pr child, and compare that to the COST of the food per child.

    You will find the COST is more than twice the VALUE, because the COST includes the staffing, not just the food, and that is why school meals are unaffordable to many working families,

    We cannot afford to pay £3 for £1 worth of food.

    It is a stupid idea.

    it doesn't matter if the cost is paid for by the families, or the state, you are still paying £3 for £1 worth of food, and retracting ALL the child benefit in the country won't nearly cover it.

    And it is a very poor use of money, whether it is paid for by the parent or the state.
    Laphroig likes this.
  16. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    currently it is an OPTION for parents who can afford it ( fair enough) and a BENEFIT for a small number of children who's parents can't afford it. Fine.

    making it compulsory, and taking away child benefit, awful.
    Laphroig, Calpurnia99 and InkyP like this.
  17. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I took sandwiches for lunch in the early 60s. The alternative was sitting looking at a plate of slop and engaging in a battle of wills with the dinner ladies who were trying to make me eat it. I always won and usually ate none of it.

    I don't think everyone needs or wants free school meals for their child and when I was working there were still some parents of KS1 children who declined the school meal and sent a packed lunch, usually less healthy. If it would really cost more to means test then I can accept this as a reason to make the free meal available to everyone but I know some families struggle more in the holidays.

    School meals, in Primary anyway, in Derbyshire schools are still a healthy meal.
    install likes this.
  18. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Not poor quality, good quality. I'm not talking about what is often on offer today (more like what many independent schools offer, or I saw in France). Rid yourself of the prejudices you have about current school meals.

    And we're talking about 5 meals a week, 38 weeks a year. You get to offer what you want the rest of the time (the vast majority).

    It may be less important for your child, but for many, many others it would be life chnaging...
    install likes this.
  19. install

    install Star commenter

    Good point InkyP - the problem with bringing in your own food currently though is that some kids do take in cans; cakes; sweets and chocolates for their lunch on a daily basis.

    They simply do not know what 'healthy' or 'fresh' means - let alone the problems they are storing up for themselves with: enumbers; obesity; dental issues; lack of vitamins etc
    InkyP likes this.
  20. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I am strongly against this idea because, although it sounds nice in theory, it isn't practical. The majority of schools don't have the facilities for all their pupils to be served a hot meal each lunchtime. Some don't have kitchens at all, some don't have kitchens that are big enough to cook that amount of food. Lunch sittings would need to be longer, as it takes longer to serve a year group of pupils a hot meal than it does for a year group to sit down and open their lunch boxes. In many schools there would need to be more sittings, as all pupils eating a hot lunch would need space in the hall (currently packed lunch children often eat in their classrooms; it wouldn't be practical to carry hot food to classrooms, not to think of the potential mess from sauce and gravy spillages). More sittings would mean less time for the hall to be used for other things (PE lessons, assemblies, rehearsals for schools plays).
    dunnocks likes this.

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