Asked to pay for school lunch when she has packed lunch from home....

(53 Posts)
Babedestiny Mon 14-Jan-13 13:14:30

I had to pay outstanding fees for school lunch which i wasnt aware of until i got the letter.Went to the school toask and was told that every child will be asked whether they want to have school dinner and my dd said yes and i had to pay because she said so.But what i didnt undertsand was she had packed lunch from home everyday and i had never requested for her to have school lunch.How could the school go according to what the child said.Their answer was they cannot check every child who has packed lunch from home and goes according to what the kid say.So did she had both lunch on that day then?
Got really angry with the lack of communication the school had.Did anybody had this problem before or is it right for the school to do that?
I really dont know what the system is as its my first one in school?

FestiveWench Mon 14-Jan-13 16:32:51

I still want to know what was happening to her sandwiches...

if it was back in October then no wonder you cant remember it. Maybe they have got confused between your child and another one especially if she brought home an empty lunch bag every day that week. Has she ever had school dinners?

BooksandaCuppa Mon 14-Jan-13 17:31:08

I can't understand how you could cater for it on the day itself.

Ds's old primary it was ordered a half term at a time and paid for in advance. Mind you, the catering company is providing food for about 20 or so schools across a large-ish rural area; I suppose if it was cooked on site it would be easier to go day-by-day but still not sure how they would know how much stuff to buy in?

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 14-Jan-13 17:36:42

I wouldn't pay

There may be many children who want a school dinner but maybe for financial reasons their parents find it more economical to send them with a packed lunch.

Give my ds a choice of a sandwich or pizza and I know which he'd choose.

Tell them to send the bill to your child but they don't actually have any means to pay for it!

Hulababy Mon 14-Jan-13 17:37:08

At my school we ask children (Y1 and Y2, reception done slightly different I think) at registration time - school dinner meat, school dinner veg, school dinner Halal or packed lunch. It is then recorded on the register for the cook.

We never go and check this. That is for the child to know and answer. If they are unsure we send them to go and check if they have a packed lunch with them, but still leave to them. We really don't have time to go and check all their lunches that is for certain/

DSM Mon 14-Jan-13 17:39:39

booksandacuppa - they'd cater the same way any restaurant/cafe/bistro does. You forecast potential sales and cater as such.

SamSmalaidh Mon 14-Jan-13 18:19:32

I would just refuse to pay if school asked children to decide what they wanted each day and sometimes they made the wrong choice. If the school make an agreement with a 5 year old, then get them to pay! If they want me to pay, they better make sure they have an agreement with me grin

BooksandaCuppa Mon 14-Jan-13 20:11:14

But surely much, much easier to just book them in advance; then there's absolutely no waste and then the costs can be as low as possible...think lunches were £2.75 a day at ds's school (he never had them; far more expensive than pack-up) but would surely come in at even higher prices if there's wastage?

Our lunches range from £1.75 to about £2 depending on what foods they choose (done cafeteria style). My 2 choose the night before whether they want a school dinner the next day. Dd often chooses a school dinner and ds only goes on the day they have beans on toast! (Once every 3 weeks)

BooksandaCuppa Mon 14-Jan-13 20:34:30

Lots of choice then (and possibly still a lot of waste?) Ds's school only had one choice (and one veg) but it was always proper full dinners with a pudding. Like I said he never had them anyway.

DSM Mon 14-Jan-13 21:43:35

DS's school only charge £1.75. No idea about waste but I can't imagine it would be any different to any other catering business. No restaurant, bar, cafe, hotel, ice cream van, chip shop, mcdonalds... knows how many people will be coming in advance.

It's basic business! You forecast and cater accordingly. You don't have 'waste' as you either use the food the next day or only make so much of something.

It's the same in all schools - even these odd ones where you have to tell them if you are having a lunch in advance. Not every booked-in child is there every day - waste. And don't they have options? DS's school have 3 options every day.

Rhianna1980 Mon 14-Jan-13 21:53:06

What happened to her packed lunch ? Wasn't she supposed to be eating it ? If she wasn't , u must have noticed that she was bringing it back and sth was wrong ?

BooksandaCuppa Mon 14-Jan-13 22:02:57

No, if the child is off sick and you don't phone the catering company directly (not school) before 8.45 you don't get a refund and so they still get paid (it's all paid half a term in advance). No, no choice. Very small school. But my point was that the more waste, the more cost will be passed onto the parents (which although obviously the same for any cafe or restaurant, that's a one off treat, not an everyday occurrence so you'd expect the costs to be kept as low as humanly possible, I would have thought).

Anyway, not entirely sure why I'm bothering to talk about this (not being sarky to you; being bemused by myself!)...it's not entirely relevant to the OP. Just had never heard of a school running things in the way of the OP's school. All the schools around us ask for payment and booking either one or two weeks or a full half-term in advance. No asking the children what they're doing or taking cash in on the day...never heard of it, that;s all!

neverputasockinatoaster Mon 14-Jan-13 22:06:09

At the school I work in we take a dinner register at morning registration - children say dinners or sandwiches. If the answer they give seems out of character we would check.
When the littlies start they have visits and we go through the system with them and their parents.
At my DC's school meals have to be chosen a week in advance. Luckily both mine ar fussy eaters and take a packed lunch!

Fuzzymum1 Tue 15-Jan-13 13:22:08

Our school has a menu with two choices - one labeled red, one green. Each morning the 'dinner register' is done after the normal register. The children are told what the options are and then then answer 'red' 'green' or 'packed lunch'. If they order a cooked dinner they are given a cooked dinner and the parent is then asked for payment. It's done exactly the same from reception to year six and rarely if ever causes a problem.

AThingInYourLife Tue 15-Jan-13 13:26:47

"If the school make an agreement with a 5 year old, then get them to pay! If they want me to pay, they better make sure they have an agreement with me."

Precisely.

CocktailQueen Tue 15-Jan-13 13:29:32

At our school children are asked at morning register if they're having packed lunches or school dinners, the teacher marks it down in the register book and it gets taken to the school office/the dinner lady. You do have to pay in advance, though. IME teachers get used quite quickly to who has packed lunches or school dinners, and they will query it.

wigglywoowoo Tue 15-Jan-13 14:02:32

I've never really thought about the waste side. DD is school dinners and once or twice a week on random days I will send her in with a packed lunch. School have never questioned it or said that I need to do it on set days. They do ask the children each morning, if they are school dinners or packed lunch though, so there may be lots of swapping and changing going on.

We have to say in advance which days they are going to have school dinners, but then they completely ignore it and the children say on the day which they are having and order their choice. We did have a few problems, only with dd1, I complained and apparently I wasn't the only one with a problem in her class. I knew she had lunches with her as I make for dd1+2, I wouldn't make for one but not the other. We've never had to pay though. Think she was mixed up with another child on the register, ask them if there was someone near her on the register who always has school lunches, except for that week. Think it is probably unlikely that she actually had two meals.

Suffolkgirl1 Tue 15-Jan-13 17:27:09

Just curiosity - in those schools where the school dinners have to be booked way in advance, what happens if a child turns up without their packed lunch eg they left it at home, in the car, on the school bus?
Presumably they don't let them go hungry.

BooksandaCuppa Tue 15-Jan-13 20:13:49

Suffolkgirl- they would either ring the parent to bring a lunch in or (if a working parent) scrape together a portion from the hot meals which have been ordered by the other children. But since we've only hot dinners in our county for about three years, the children are used to remembering their lunches!

BooksandaCuppa Tue 15-Jan-13 20:16:04

The catering company provide lunches for at least 10 schools over a large radius and deliver them about ten minutes before they're eaten - there's no way this system could work with children just deciding there and then that they do or don't want a hot lunch - how do they know whether to deliver 5 or 30 meals?

SizzleSazz Tue 15-Jan-13 20:23:27

Our meals are cooked on site and dc say at class registration which meal they want and get a coloured band. The list is sent to the kitchen and the requisite meals cooked which they then give the child on production of their corresponding coloured band.

Crucially though, the TA checks the number of lunch boxes on the trolley in the classroom to ensure none of the little ones have got mixed up as to whether they should have said 'red/yellow/green' or packed lunch.

I love the system as it is so flexible. All paid via parentpay.

peppajay Tue 15-Jan-13 21:22:37

Wow. I am astounded at our school and many other primaries around here, there is no hot dinner option unless you are on benefits so most children have a packed lunch!!! I have never heard of paying for school lunches in a primary school only in secondary. Great idea though as the nights my kids have swimming or dancing which results in a late dinner they could have a school lunch!!! I am curious now so going to research other schools in my area to see if they offer hot lunches but never heard of any!!

happynewmind Tue 15-Jan-13 21:47:11

This is why in our school parents have to put a change in writing.

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