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School's bread and butter lunch policy off the menu after parents complain

Published 22/01/2016

Parents of children at Alban Church of England Academy in Bedfordshire had been told pupils would be given only bread and butter if they did not arrive at school with a packed lunch or dinner money
Parents of children at Alban Church of England Academy in Bedfordshire had been told pupils would be given only bread and butter if they did not arrive at school with a packed lunch or dinner money

A school has been forced to abandon a new policy which would have seen pupils given bread and butter if their parents did not pay for dinners or provide a packed lunch.

Alban Church of England Academy in Bedfordshire set out the move in a letter to parents earlier this month.

But after concerns were raised by parents, the school apologised and said it would not introduce the change.

The first letter, seen by BBC Radio 5 Live, said that despite regular reminders some children were still going to school without either a packed lunch or money for a dinner - £2.10 - and that this had happened more than 100 times in the past month.

It said the catering firm providing school meals has a "strict 'no debt' policy and as such, it is the school that has to fund the cost of a meal".

The school then has to try and recoup the money from parents, the letter added, with pupils given reminders and parents sent texts and letters if they failed to pay.

The letter went on to say: "As a result, and with effect from Monday February 1, this current system will cease.

"From then, if a pupil comes to school without either a packed lunch or dinner money, the office staff will phone home and ask for packed lunch or the money for a lunch to be dropped into school.

"If the parent/carer cannot make it into school then the child will be provided with a drink and bread and butter only."

But the school has now said it is retracting the policy, and has posted a new letter, signed by head teacher Sue Lourensz, for parents on its website.

It says: "Following a number of parental concerns regarding the recent school meals letter, we have decided to re-think our policy and will not be introducing the new system outlined in that letter.

"I apologise if this has caused any offence, this was not our intention. The letter itself was intended to explain the situation and trial a policy that has been successfully adopted by other schools."

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