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12/02/2014 at 14:20
12/02/2014 at 17:22
Is this just in England or in Wales too do you know?
12/02/2014 at 17:26
Annoyingly O goes into yr 3 in sept so u'll still be making lunches for one if them!
12/02/2014 at 17:38
I think it's fab, since L started school dinners his eating is so much better, he isn't fussy per se its more he messes about but they let me know what he eats (well at the beginning they did and now they just come if there's any issues), I think £2 a day at our school is steep for a school dinner so I think it's good that all infants have the free meals, there's a vegan child and a child that doesn't like eating in front of people in Ls class so the vegan child's mum sends his lunch (packed lunch), the other little boy will sit with the others at the end of his meal, he will sit away whilst he is eating but come over to join everyone at the end, I imagine if anyone opted out the school dinners then it'd just be the same as it is now, ie all children sit at the tables regardless of whether they are packed lunch or school dinner. Practically I don't think there'd be much of a difference as to how the school would handle it. Maybe the dinner ladies would come in a bit earlier to help with prep as I think ATM only a few are there all day
12/02/2014 at 21:42
I think it's a great idea, although the government, in their (lack of ) wisdom didn't think through at all how it would practically work... seeing as they got rid of loads of schools' kitchens a few years ago. My school where I work has already got a plan for how this will be implemented, although it will be difficult to seat all the kids, it will be doable.
I know most people think it will be a hot lunch, but unless things have changed recently, it doesn't have to be, so check what your school's plans are. They can say that they will provide packed lunches to kids if the school kitchens or caterer doesn't have the capacity to make the extra meals. I have no idea what the guidance that will be issued to schools will say, so I don't know how or if they will cater for special dietary requirements above the norm.
As a parent, I'm pleased that we will get 2 years of free meals for Sophie, but I will still have to make lunch for Jack and I so won't save me time. I don't know if packed lunches will be in the minority as there are so many fussy kids, but if the meal is free, I can imagine lots of parents will at least try it. I hope they do, as for most children in my current class their lunchboxes are so awful, they need some proper food. And our school meals are lovely.
12/02/2014 at 22:45
I'm really pleased. It's not critical for us financially but a nice bonus, and every little really does help in terms of time as well as money.
F already has school dinners usually. Two days a week she's in after school club so we want her to have a hot meal on those days, so we started off with dinners every day to make that the norm iyswim, with the idea of reducing it to just those two if she wasn't getting on with them. I find making lunch for H and me every day we work a drag, and I know providing lunch for F every day would be difficult and potentially expensive to make it something she likes and is nutritionally balanced, and I know from talking to friends. She loves the dinners, other than fish and chips on Fridays, so currently she's down to 4 days a week on school dinners, maybe going up to 5 again next term as she's keen to try Fridays again.
H and I went in recently for lunch, they invited all the reception parents in to sample the food and the atmosphere, partly for feedback but also to reassure people who weren't sure about taking the free dinners up. We were impressed. I don't know what extra capacity will be needed but we're lucky that it's a new building with kitchens so they are probably in a good position to manage. The children sit with their peers whatever they are having for lunch, so that won't change. Further up the school there may be more of a separation between who is eating what as they are called in as the younger ones finish, and I think they call in either cooked or packed lunch dependent on whether the kitchen is ready to serve or not when seating becomes available. But all of the infants are seated together at first and they served them very quickly so should be able to handle serving more if it comes to that. We got the impression that packed lunches were the minority already for reception children, and most of my friends do a mixture and are planning on changing the mix once it's free
I know one of the thoughts is to reduce the stigma of free school meals, and I'm not sure how real that is. We have to drop payment at the office termly, perhaps deliberately, as everyone is in and out of there with various letters and queries all the time so no other parent or child is going to be able to keep track of who's gone and paid or who hasn't had to. And as some funding is dependent on the number of children eligible for free school meals there's bound to be some other income related criteria the school have to monitor instead
13/02/2014 at 08:46
I think its a great idea, although I'm not sure why its just up to yr 2 children, why not all primary school children? Although I'm sure there is talk of doing the same for all primary school children from 2015.
J has school dinners every day as the school is a bit funny about taking packed lunches in, his meals are £2.10 a day so it will save me £42 a month which is nice. E currently has school dinners 2 days a week and 3 days packed lunch and she's desperate to go 5 days packed lunch so from September I'll give her packed lunch every day so I won't be paying anything for school dinners.
13/02/2014 at 09:05
C currently has school dinners 4 days a week - he was having them every day, but he asked to go for packed lunch so we've let him one day a week although I struggle to make things for him because there's so few sandwich fillings or other savoury things he'll eat so I may well get him to go back to 5 days a week from September when it's free. I really don't know how many children currently have packed lunches vs dinners - they make the school dinners there, and all the children sit together whether they have dinners or packed lunch so I guess they shouldn't struggle capacity wise.
I know another mother has worked with the council to make sure her daughter can have something suitable for dinners as she has quite a few allergies, and they seemed quite willing to help out. I guess you're probably a bit worried how it might effect L and if he might be the only one taking his own lunches - I'd hope L's school would be willing to try and help in your situation in whatever way they could so that he isn't left out. xx
13/02/2014 at 10:32
I think it is a good idea, although I hope they are going to keep an eye on what children actually eat. I am not sure if we will take advantage of it or not, Molly's favourite meal of the day is lunch - basically anything in the shape of a sandwich gets her approval so I am not sure she would like to miss out and in the summer at the school we are hoping she will go to they have outside tables for the children to eat at as well which I thought would be nice
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