Children ‘more than a penny in debt’ won’t be fed school meals, says headteacher
Pupils will not be allowed school meals if they are more than a penny in debt, a headteacher has said.
In a letter to parents Neil Foden, the strategic head of Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in Penygroes, Gwynedd, said the school cook had been told not to give food to any child “if their debt has not been cleared, or, in the future, to children whose accounts do not have enough money to pay for lunch”.
Parent’s have been set a deadline of November 19 to get their children’s accounts up to date. The reason given for this was that there was a a deficit in the school meals budget at the end of the last half term.
He apologised for the approach but said the “scale of the default means that something clearly has to be done”.
The email has been shared on social media and has been criticised by angry parents.
One parent said: “Absolutely shocking. What the hell’s wrong with system, the child might not know mam and dad are struggling to pay, it might be the only food that child eats that day.”
Another said: “If they would actually let you pay your £1.60 bill Without having to pay a min payment of £10, would be a help. Seriously!”
Foden added: “Closer inspection revealed that this was because a handful of pupils had run up debts totalling more than £1,800. Unfortunately, this means that I have had to take the following steps.”
He said: “All debts over £10 will be transferred to the authority and parents will be invoiced by the council.
“All debts of over £0.01 will receive a message from the school to clear debts and credit the system by Friday, November 19th.”
The email then outlines what further steps will be taken by the school including refusing to serve children food.