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Lunch payments overdue: children put in lunch isolation

Discussion in 'Education news' started by monicabilongame, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The flaw in that plan is that it is illegal to exclude a child for that reason and the school would be forced to readmit them.
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  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter


    As I said, they knew the cost before entering their child at the school. Most families can make savings if they choose to. I suggested some in an earlier post.
     
  3. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

     
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That's not a practical alternative. School lunch provision isn't a commercial contract it's a statutory service provision. It's not at all clear that a school would have the legal status to bring such a claim. Maybe, maybe not. Is it a good use of months of staff time to bring a legal test case that could go to the High Court? And who would fund it?
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  5. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Because losing your job drives you to drink? Because the jobless all smoke and have a home with TV. You have the figures? I have been unemployed, as an older teacher who was forced out. That sort of attitude is so prevalent and so unfair to those who are laid off after persistent bullying at work to then to be judged and categorised. Do you know how humiliating it is to try to sign on? Don't judge anyone until you have walked a mile in their second hand shoes.
     
    vannie and monicabilongame like this.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter


    The case in the press was - apparently - because the mother had not yet applied for FSM. Which is hardly the school's fault. Perhaps she should have contacted the school and asked for extra time/some help, rather than not paying and running up a debt of £75.

    But I bet there were things she could have cut back on. And no evidence she had been bullied out of her job.

    Oh, and FWIW , in my late 40s I was made redundant. At the time I had three dependents living at home and a mortgage. So think I DO know just a little about financial constraints...
     
  7. redlamp2

    redlamp2 Occasional commenter

    That's not how the Small Claims court works. Of course the school has the status to make a claim. It would have taken barely any more time than the letter they wrote and considerably less than the fallout they're now having to deal with.
     
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Always good to hear from a lawyer. Thanks for the advice.

    You know of actual cases where a school has successfully sued through MCOL for unpaid school dinner money I assume?
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  9. redlamp2

    redlamp2 Occasional commenter

    You left no doubt that you needed it. This may help you too: http://bfy.tw/6zi5

    PS. you don't need a lawyer to use the Small Claims court. (kind of the point)
     
  10. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Fair enough, but be assured, the new benefits system is geared to reduce the unemoymrnt figures so it takes weeks to decide if you are eligible.
    I obviously don't know if the woman in question was bullied but my recent experience was horrendous, including information on how to get rid of my non existent drink and drug habits, forced attendance at adult basic literacy lessons, forced registration with rip off employment agencies, endless patronising, judgemental behaviour from agents, changing appointments without advance notification so you miss it and they cut the payment, back to square one, through the rigmarole again.
    Yes, of course she might not have handled it well, as I said before but being unemployed is now a full time job designed to run you down so you'll give up and take a zero hours contract at Sports Direct. When you're depressed and worried, you make mistakes.
     
  11. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide


    Thank you. Was there any negative publicity in the local press of the 'school takes poor parents to court" type in the cases you know of?
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  12. redlamp2

    redlamp2 Occasional commenter

  13. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide



    I'll take that amusing evasion of the question as a No to both then.
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  14. redlamp2

    redlamp2 Occasional commenter

    Oh I don't doubt you will. However the intent was to represent that while biting more than you can chew you are nonetheless a dog with a bone. The wrong bone. A bone you can never finish. But still a bone.

    As already illustrated many schools use the Small Claims court as do many businesses and charities. They use it not only to pursue small debts without the need for legal expenses, but also as an effective tool for dealing with non payment. Effective because the correct process involves using letters of intent prior to taking action which can include factoring in reasonable costs and interest. Every business administrator should understand this, including those at this school.

    You can easily find examples of schools using the service in this way. Unless you're distracted by that bone.

    Some of the points raise more interesting questions though. Is there a case for a parent to defend their right not to pay? Can such a school legally impose the charge? Likewise can they legally detain a child over non payment of fees?
     
    drek and harsh-but-fair like this.
  15. Tigger1962

    Tigger1962 New commenter

    She had only "run up a debt of £75" because the the school demand full payment in advance for these compulsory school meals. As the mother was described as an unemployed carer £75 is a lot of money to find upfront

    The school bans pack lunches so she did not have a cheaper option available to parents.

    The "free school" seems to use these charges to weed out poorer students - totally the opposite of the original free school ethos from Sweden where all compulsory aspects of school must be free - including lunches and school trips etc
     
  16. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    The term started on the 6th June and payment was due by then. The letter was issued on the 7th. This caring school gave this woman 1 day in which to contact them and explain her situation before deciding to threaten to punish her child.

    Funnily enough, the mother did pay, but found an alternative school for her child and was not compensated for any of the dinner money her child didn't use after he left. Surprise surprise.
     
    vannie likes this.
  17. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter


    Presumably nothing stopped the woman contacting the school before Term started? I mean most schools have the office open some/all of the holidays?
     
  18. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    Nothing to stop the school contacting the woman about how the debt could be paid before they started threatening to punish her child. I mean, most people have some humanity and don't think it's appropriate to punish a child when their parent is 1 week late with a payment.
     
  19. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter


    Try walking into the supermarket of your choice and taking some food without paying and see what happens....
     
  20. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    Find me a supermarket that asks you for payment in advance of going into their store. Moreover, find me one that insists that you can only buy certain products that they deem worthy and decides in advance how much you must pay for those items. It's a silly analogy.

    Besides, this is not about the issue of payment. The parent should have paid, and she did. The fact that she was slightly late with the payment should not have resulted in the child being threatened with disciplinary action. There are other methods of getting payment - issuing a reminder in the first instance, opening a dialogue about possible payment options for parents who are experiencing hardship, taking legal action against the parent as a last resort.

    You've frequently mentioned that the parent should have budgeted better, and implied that the late payment was because of irresponsible spending habits. The school themselves stated that they wanted to make the parent to 'change her ways', suggesting that they believed late payment to be due to negligent or inadequate parenting. If this is the case, how can anyone justify enacting punishment on a child who has already been identified as potentially being vulnerable. None of this was done with the welfare of the child or concern for his circumstances in mind and that is absolutely disgusting behaviour for a school, who is supposed to have a duty of care towards their pupils. It is completely ridiculous that anyone is defending this.
     

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