A furious dad has hit out at a school’s ‘horrendous’ lunch offer, which he says includes meals he ‘wouldn’t even give to the dogs’.
Craig Laird, whose children attend Bulwell Academy in Nottingham, says the trust-run secondary school serves ‘inadequate’ lunch options.
Some of the menu items highlighted include a single slice of pizza “which appears to have been bought from Aldi’s basic range” and pasta with a “smooth” sauce served in a “polystyrene teacup”.
The father-of-four also hit out at the school over a ‘disgusting’ sliced baguette filled with a ‘block of cheese’.
And he fears that the meals do not live up to the nutritional standards and shakes: ‘Our children are treated worse than in a prison’.
Leaders at the school, which has more than 1,000 pupils, insist its catering staff are ‘working hard’ to ensure menu items meet nutritional standards.
But Mr Laird said: ‘The issues with school meals are of great concern to me personally and my partner because we both have children at school. The nutritional requirements are just not being met.’
Parents of pupils at Bulwell Academy in Nottingham have complained about a ‘disgusting’ sliced baguette filled with a ‘block of cheese’
Others have complained about pasta with a ‘blob’ of sauce served in a ‘polystyrene teacup’ (pictured)
The East Midlands school operates a ParentPay scheme where parents pay £50 a month for pupils to eat lunch.
Menu items are then posted online by the school for parents to view. However, if students do not want the main meal of the day, they can choose secondary options that are not listed online.
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Sir. Laird said that because of the main options available, his children often had to choose between a pizza slice, basic baguette or pasta.
He said: ‘It’s literally like a styrofoam teacup with pasta and a dollop of sauce on top.
“These are supposed to be nutritional meals but it’s really really really cruel, I wouldn’t even feed it to my dog.
‘My daughter has a disability which involves an enlarged tongue which is really sensitive.
“Half of these meals are all spicy and she can’t have them so she has to go with the other option which is a slice of pizza that basically looks like it’s bought from Aldi outside of it cheap everyday range for 59p and you just get one piece’.
Asked about the basic baguette, he said: ‘It’s an 8-inch roll of bread that’s been sliced and has a block of cheese in it, and that’s what it’s disgusting.
‘They are treated worse than in a prison.’
Sir. Laird claims that while the school menu ‘looks very good’, ‘a lot of kids don’t eat that kind of food and have to settle for a slice of pizza.’
He added: ‘You have parents, all these other parents, who rely on schools for that meal to feed their children because they can’t afford to feed them properly at home, especially in the current climate.
Some of the menu items highlighted by parents include a single slice of pizza (pictured) ‘which appears to have been bought from Aldi’s basic range’
‘They should be on proper bolognese, they don’t even get a real choice.
‘Previous high schools you’d go to the canteen and you’d have a selection of chips, beans, sausages, bacon.
‘You would have a range of choices but not at this school, it’s this or this and it’s all inadequate.’
Another parent of a student at the school is also frustrated with the lunches offered.
The mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘School dinners are disgusting, flimsy slices of pizza, no sides or even a drink with their meals.
‘My daughter is always hungry, I never realized the meals were so bad, it’s like feeding animals with scraps. Some children only get that meal at school, it’s not good enough.
“From what I’ve heard from my daughter, they’ve always been like that, she eats school dinners and has lots of snacks to keep her going. How are kids supposed to focus on work when they don’t eat properly?
In response to the concerns raised by parents during the lunches, a Bulwell Academy spokesperson said: ‘At Bulwell Academy we always welcome feedback from parents and pupils.
‘Our catering staff work hard to ensure that all our menus are nutritionally balanced, but we welcome suggestions for future menus.
But bosses at Bulwell Academy (pictured) insist its catering staff are ‘working hard’ to ensure menu items meet nutritional standards
‘We ask about dietary requirements before students start at Bulwell Academy and tailor-made menus are created based on their needs.
‘Our newly appointed student form representatives will continue to be involved in menu selection to ensure that the students’ voices are heard.’
Last month another school, Thornaby Academy, in Stockton-on-Tees, came under fire for dishing up ‘expensive’ and ‘abysmal’ dinners – with one furious parent saying: ‘Prisoners better be full’.
It comes after pictures of a lunch service were leaked which showed a limp pizza being sold for £1.65.
But one of the shots has led to confusion, with the quality of the food looking so poor that parents have not been able to figure out what the meal is.
The unidentifiable snack – possibly a pudding – prompted one person to ask why children were being served ‘whipped sausage and grapes?’
While another woman said: ‘This is absolutely shocking! Prisoners get better food than this at the taxpayers expense, then parents have to pay for school dinners and get fed with this… How is this fair?’
Pictures of the school’s lackluster lunch have since gone viral, with parents quick to vent their fury on social media.
Among the leaked snaps included a photo showing a slice of pizza – which appeared to have taken a bite out of it – with only a slice of pepperoni resting on a single slice of rectangular cheese.
Some of the food served to students at Thornaby by caterers Mellors was hard to identify – including this plate of lunch
The boring pizza was sold to children at Thornaby Academy in Stockton-on-Tees for £1.65 – sparking outrage from parents on social media
And in another photo, a depressing pot of mac and cheese was snapped by a student with bland pasta topped with a few pieces of cheese.
A mother, who has not been named, said: ‘My son is six and gets school meals. He chooses a cold meal and all he gets is two slices of bread, some stuffing and a cookie as a meal.
‘He’s not a big eater at all, but even he says it’s not enough.’
Currently, campaigners up and down the country are fighting for higher quality school meals for all children.
The ‘Give a Sausage’ campaign, backed by celebrity culinary stars from Tom Kerridge to Prue Leith, aims to ensure every child has access to good school meals.
They aim to do this by training school kitchen teams and reducing the amount of processed food on offer.
This comes as 60 per cent of secondary schools fail to meet school food standards outlined by the government in May, with one in three children leaving school overweight or obese.
A spokesman for Thornaby Academy said: ‘The academy is disappointed to learn of a possible issue regarding its new catering supplier Mellors, as this matter had not been raised directly with the school.
“The academy has a clear policy that students use mobile phones during the day, which is not allowed.
Thornaby Academy takes school catering standards and compliance with food school standards seriously and will investigate the matter in conjunction with the caterers. However, Mellors has already apologized unreservedly.’
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