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Should packed lunches be banned in our schools

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OneFootInTheGrave Report 12 Jul 2013 08:33

Head teachers in England are being urged to ban packed lunches to increase the take-up of school dinners and promote healthy eating.

A government-commissioned school food review by two founders of the Leon restaurant chain says take-up is low at 43% despite huge quality improvements.

The authors of the School Food Plan say packed lunches are nearly always less nutritious than a cooked meal.

As much as I agree that a healthy diet is important I do not believe that either the government or head teachers should be allowed to ban packed lunches nor stop pupils buying snacks outside of the school - what do you think?


littlelegs Report 12 Jul 2013 08:45

and who is going to be paying for school dinners
packed lunches are cheaper then paying for school dinners

my daughter takes a packed lunch but once a week we pay for a school dinner [2 30]

take care

sorry hello onefootinthe grave


AnnCardiff Report 12 Jul 2013 08:50

ban packed lunches? definitely not!!!!


AnninGlos Report 12 Jul 2013 08:53

I think, unless the school is genuinely and with good reason, worried about the contents of a child's packed lunch, it should be up to the parents. I can see that they should offer advice as to what not to put in but no way do I think they should ban them just to try and make more profit from school dinners. If school dinners were good value for money and enjoyable to the children maybe they'd sell more.


RolloTheRed Report 12 Jul 2013 09:04

School dinners cost more than two sarnies an orange and a cola (say) because they are more nutritious.

Pupil's educational achievement and ability to concentrate is tightly linked to good nutrition ( and enough sleep in bed rather than dozing in the classroom). They need breakfast as well as a decent lunch.

School meals are good for children to learn to socialise properly ( it is wrong for teachers to pull out of lunch time involvement ).

A balanced diet for at least one meal each school day is a start on dealing with the epidemic of obese schoolchildren. Fat children avoid sport and so get fatter.

People who see the education of their children as something to be done as cheaply as possible obviously care little about the future job prospects of their offspring.

It would also help if schools were treated as schools and not a parking place for children while their parents are at work. The ability of most children under 16 to learn anything after 3pm is minimal yet the government is proposing extending school hours to 5pm (!).



AnninGlos Report 12 Jul 2013 09:19

There is truth in all that Rollo but banning packed lunches is treating the symptom not the cause. I don't know how we adjust the thinking of parents having let it go so far but surely a way can be found to point out that the health and well being of their children is their responsibility. Sometimes I wonder why people have children.


Dame*Shelly*("\(*o*)/") Report 12 Jul 2013 09:50

sorry but i can not see what working parents has to do with healthy eating
most parent work becouse thay have to.
what will thay gain at being home all day sitting on there bums and children at school all day

yes ok we could help how children a little more with there home work
but some people seem to for get that if we give up how jobs we would them
have to go on benefit

then be called a benefit scrounger i see we working perant still can not win


gardenpest29 Report 12 Jul 2013 09:51

I work as a Lunchtime Supervisor in a small primary school we have 6 classes and 157 pupils. Parents are given a menu at the beginning of each term with a list of what school dinners will be available each day they can then choose when and if their child will have a school meal. We average 40 hot meals a day, going up to maybe 50 on fridays.
Parents do not have to book a school dinners for the whole week it is done on a day to day basis.
The children who bring packed lunches are not permitted to bring sweets and are encouraged to bring healthy snacks.
I think the governments should leave us alone so that we can carry on doing the good work that we are doing.
The hot meals are £1.75 and so good even the staff eat them.


Sharron Report 12 Jul 2013 09:53

The recommendation was made by the founders of a restaurant chain, businessmen, running a large catering company.

Who is going to be cooking these compulsory school dinners?


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 12 Jul 2013 09:56

From the Lewisham BC website.

For a 2 course meal the cost is....
Primary and 'special school' meals - £1.80
Secondary school meals - £2.20

It does sound good value, but if you have 2 children in school and do not qualify for Free schools meals, its going to cost you upwards of £18 pw. That's a miniumum of £72 pm!

You also have the problem that not every child will eat what's provided. Even if the packed lunch is less nutritious there is a better chance that they will eat 'something'.

Produce a leaflet with suggestions for an economic, balanced packed lunch by all means, but don't ban them.


ZZzzz Report 12 Jul 2013 10:19

Sounds to me like a big company has seen another chance to make money.

When our son went to junior school he was encouraged to try social eating which he did for us to realise he picked up the bad tables manners of other children because they didn't sit at a table at home, IE sat with finger food in front of the TV.
So needless to say we put him back on packed lunches.


Porkie_Pie Report 12 Jul 2013 10:32

The school where my granddaughter goes to recently changed to an academy, The price of a school meal jumped from £2.20 to £3.50 overnight and the portion sizes reduced at the same time,

Granddaughter is tall for her age and of slim build and now finds she has to also take snacks to school to supplement the small portion sizes provided at lunch

On the plus side when the school day ends at 2.45pm the school do hold extra tuition in the basic subjects and for those studying for exams up to 5 pm for those who want to attend



OneFootInTheGrave Report 12 Jul 2013 10:35

Some food for thought, excuse the pun ;-)

In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher made it obligatory for local authorities to open up provision of school meals to competitive tender, and at present some local authorities provide school meals from their own resources and others have opted to have them provided by the private sector.

Yesterday when addressing the Treasury Committee, the Chancellor George Osborne said he would be able to cut borrowing through spending cuts alone and that tax increases are not required to achieve this.

So it appears the Chancellor is going to bring in further spending cuts and you can bet your bottom dollar that local authority budgets will be hit hard again and this will force local authorities to put many more of their services including school meals in the hands of those in the private sector.

Surely I must be cynical in thinking this is all about money and has little to do with nutrition and the well being of children ;-)

After all it was just over a week ago a leaked document showed that the Education Secretary Michael Gove wanted academies and free schools to become profit-making businesses by involving hedge funds and venture capitalists.


Sharron Report 12 Jul 2013 10:36

I have Googled Leon Restaurants.

Their philosophy and ethic are admirable. If they could produce school meals under that regime it would be wonderful.

Unfortunately school meals would go out to tender as it always does and one of the big catering companies would have an iron grip on a captive market.


jgee Report 12 Jul 2013 11:33

My granddaughter as three part time jobs it seems almost impossiable to get job at the moment..

She is working as a dinner lady .. at different schools in the borough... we often talk about the meals ..she said she wouldnt eat the food .. and to top it up ..havnt a clue what one meal is ..but her overalls are so badly stained its either spaghetti bolonaise.. or beans ..if it stains their tums what is in it..

Plus one child didnt have its dinner money ..not childs fault at all its a primary school .. the child was refused a dinner ..she was crying she was hungry of the dinner ladies gave her a apple .. its a disgrace in some schools


~`*`Jude`*`~ Report 12 Jul 2013 11:39


Nolls from Harrogate

Nolls from Harrogate Report 12 Jul 2013 13:20

I have a 13 yr old g/daur who sadly is very near being anorexic (wont' go into the details why but she has had problems over the years including medical) there is no way she would eat a school lunch and her mother has to pack what she knows she will eat so no! packed lunches should stay.


ChrisofWessex Report 12 Jul 2013 14:49

My mother when staying with me years ago said - 'I do not know why you ask the children what they would like for tea - give them what you want to and make them eat it'.

I told her that it was her attitude - (I did not so much ask as gave them a couple of choices) which had steered me in this direction - I saw no point in givng them what they disliked only to have it left - unlike in my childhood being given it again and told about the poor children in africa.

A mother will not pack a lunch with items her child will not eat - but this cannot be said of school dinners - therefore give the child and mother a choice which suits them.


RolloTheRed Report 12 Jul 2013 15:32

What a sad country with no money to feed its kids properly.

There is no apparent wish to improve anything, just survive and even in this there is widespread failure. Any person, firm or organisation who tries is treated with suspicion at best and hostility most often,

There are far too many crummy schools.

Why send people to school anyway when so many adults couldn't care less about basic grammar and spelling. I would be a bit miffed to have one of my kids referred to as "it" (!)

Maybe parts of the UK would be better off run by the UN and financed by the UK's foreign aid budget.



CuriousFish Report 16 Jul 2013 22:01

Hmm, back home in NZ schools don't do dinners, hot or otherwise.