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Free school dinner/lunch for all! Ridiculous!

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

  1. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    I've been l8aundering high school kids' clothes for years. The usual reason for doing so is a single mother with physical/mental health difficulties or substance abuse. I don't ask but they are usually relieved to be able to say it.

    I also used to supplement diets out of my dept budget. Fruit and yogurt smoothies or cheese on toast for "helping"; and an after-school club at which the one-portion dish was eaten at the end, at a table with a cloth, flowers and cutlery. For invited members only.

    Yes, I believe that teacher or not, it doesn't kill us to help out a kid whose parents can't or won't.
  2. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    I do agree.

    There is not a cohesive education policy, education children for work force has become a focus.
    Flere-Imsaho likes this.
  3. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    The effects of educating parents to be better at feeding their children is going to be a generation away at best. Then again I recall quite vividly a remedial yr.8 English class I had on a teaching practise placement back in 1988 who smelt of biscuits, a not uncommon occurrence through the years since. It seems some people have always considered a packet of cheap biscuits a suitable main meal choice for their children.

    As a science teacher I always had to cover food and nutrition and so started with the usual "write down everything you ate in the last 24 hours", the gradation from top through to bottom groups was shocking at first for the social inequalities it exposed, but expected as time went on. I used to focus on getting them to recognise what foods were good for them and try not to use the word "bad", it had some effect in the short term sometimes.

    School meals for all could be great if it was done properly, like many on here I fear it won't be, but that is no reason not to try. Issues I can see that need to be addressed:

    Timing and space - my school had 40 mins for lunch and not enough space to seat everyone, it was always a rush and many kids spent much of their lunchtime queueing and then if they were late had a limited choice. When I was at school we had 90 minutes.

    Mates - for many secondary kids, it is far more important to spend time with their friends than to eat. I can see many choosing to go without and spend their time with friends rather than sit with strangers or people they don't like. The same for many adults too.

    Quality and choice - as mentioned by many, it used to be that schools cooked their own food on site and breaking even was the target, are there any that still do this? We had outside companies doing it before we became an academy, I can only envisage great resistance from those wanting to milk the school cash cows.

    Other people's children - are they deserving enough? I look after mine, why should I buy others food if their parents choose to smoke instead? etc. etc.

    I think it could be an excellent idea, but will be difficult to do and requires a great commitment.
  4. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    In the early 80s I was teaching in riot-torn Bradford, my next job after stockbroker-belt London. I remember doing that "write down all you ate" thing, and was absolutely horrified at how many kids existed on white sliced jam sandwiches, chips and tea. The school lunch was the most nutritious thing they ever ate.

    It was before the advent of cheap takeaways and ready meals, and microwaves were an expensive luxury. These were children born in the late 60s, now the demographic most at risk from diabetes and other obesity-related diseases. I can't say I blame them for going mad on nice sweet salty fatty exciting cheap food, given what they were fed on before.
  5. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    That is a valid point; supplying school meals should be a social service supplied by the local authority and not a function of the schools themselves, who will always have to balance the catering budget against other priorities. Supplied by a central service would allow for economies of scale and arrangements with local producers that would be beyond individual schools. And visits of children to their farms to see their food in production - whole projects there!
    Calpurnia99 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter


    Why lunch? Breakfast?
    Why free? How about inviting contributions or part-charging.
    Why for all? All doesn't really mean all, I suspect. Only state schools. And academies? If it's something like a universal right then why not for kids in private schools? Don't they have rights too?

    Why not free clothes for 0 - 18s? Or should it be 0 - 16? Or 0 - 21? Free shoes? Just think of the damage done to young feet by not having good shoes!

    Free shoe-fitting and shoes for everyone until a podiatrist can certify their feet have ceased growth.

    Flippin' heck. Where I live? Families can afford to sort out meals and they should be doing so. Don't parents want to exercise some control/influence over diet? Shouldn't they want to? Why does the state know better?

    The state may well know better in some cases. But not all. Benefits were designed as a safety net not a way of life.
    Jesmond12, wanet and BelleDuJour like this.
  7. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Nutrition during childhood has a significant lifelong effect on health. It sounds like @Calpurnia99 and I have taught in similar sorts of schools. They were always setted, the bottom sets always had a disproportionate number of skinny, small, pale and ill looking children. How many teachers on here and throughout the country have fed such needy looking children in the past? In my last fairly average school there were occasional kids who would pick up the ends of pizzas, sandwiches etc. thrown in bins by the others.

    Yes, yes and yes. Except not all do, so as a society we pick up the results of this down the years.

    As I've said before, we never seem to be able to reconcile ourselves as how to deal with other people's kids, I don't know the answer either, but I think that proper nutrition during childhood is something we can and should address.

    I like GDW's idea of subsidized food, like happens in some works canteens, if it gets a reputation for being good, it could work well. People often don't value what is free, if they think that by spending £1 they are getting something worth £2, there is an immediate incentive for many.
    bombaysapphire and Laphroig like this.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    There isn't an infinite supply of money.

    Perhaps we'd be better looking at air quality and making sure kids in Camden don't have to be kept indoors for the whole of their lives!!!

    A plate of tuna, sweetcorn and broccoli won't do you much good if you don't eat it. Whereas clean air isn't something you can buy. Not even in the salubrious area of N Kensington! If you really want to help ALL kids then focus on something more vital.

    wanet and BelleDuJour like this.
  9. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    It's not either/or. As far as I'm aware air quality is being addressed and is much better now than it used to be.
    Flere-Imsaho likes this.
  10. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    current school meals to nothing for these children. They are aimed at obese children. These thin ones get left hungry, and relying on the teachers, same as before. In my schools, we have only been allowed to offer food to one child, if we offer it to all children in the class, so generally the cheapest possible biscuits, in the largest possible quantities.... hoping the worst off get the unspoken message to come early and pocket the largest helpings.

    ( Incidentally, I work mostly in secondary and by far the largest proportion of seriously hungry children i have known have been sixth formers)
  11. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    This is what I do in my volunteer job. Mainly children from Sheffield.
    colpee likes this.
  12. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    How about shaming carp parents?
    BelleDuJour likes this.
  13. delmamerchant

    delmamerchant Established commenter

    Seriously, since Jamie O got his hands on school dinners nothing like syrup wouldn't see to pass the school gates in the school meal delivery truck:)
  14. delmamerchant

    delmamerchant Established commenter

    A lot more schools provide free breakfast already. Toast, cereal, fruit juice or milk and fruit.
  15. delmamerchant

    delmamerchant Established commenter

    Now there is a thought. I like it very much. Run for parliament. But not form the Brexit Beat...party:)
  16. delmamerchant

    delmamerchant Established commenter

    Interesting comment as fizzy drinks have been banned in most schools for sometime. Maybe there is a fizzy drink in schools post code lottery
  17. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    The breakfast menu in our school is just sensational !

    I'm not being sarcastic - it really is.
  18. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    Ours does. The fruit uptake is low. They're all up for toast or crumpet with nutella on but decline a nice orange or pear. You could fix that by having a set time and the meal served in courses, fruit first, wholegrain cereal next, toast and toppings when you've eaten the rest. But that's not going to happen.
    BelleDuJour likes this.
  19. delmamerchant

    delmamerchant Established commenter

    I agree. This is already in place.
  20. delmamerchant

    delmamerchant Established commenter

    Umm. No. We are edcationalist, not parents to society. Parents and carers where able should be responsible for feeding their children. Too much nanny stating going on with this proposal. What next, tuck them in and make sure they get sufficient sleep?

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