The Conservative party’s newly-announced General Election manifesto – alongside a multi-pronged attack on the nation’s elderly – states that free school meals for infant school children will be abolished should the Tories win the election.
Today, parents in Rotherham received a foretaste of the future under a Tory government when their children’s primary school texted them about their children’s school meals.
Parents of children attending Greasborough Primary – part of the Willow Tree Academy chain – contacted the SKWAWKBOX to advise that the school has sent text messages to parents telling them that if they fall into arrears with payments for school meals the children will no longer be given a meal, just toast:
When teachers are already buying food for children who arrive at school hungry and unable to concentrate, the importance of a school meal in the middle of the day to a child’s education is universally recognised.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Greasborough Primary – whose motto “putting children at the heart of everything we do” – and spoke to the school’s Pastoral Officer, who declined to comment or to put us in touch with the Academy Chain’s press officer, but suggested that the blog may hear from him/her.
The school’s decision, of course, is not connected to the Tory manifesto policy, but it is a timely reminder of the importance of proper nutrition to a child’s education and life chances that sheds a cold light on the callousness of the Tories’ plan and their intentions toward both our children and the teachers who do their best to take care of both.
NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney told the SKWAWKBOX:
There’s a huge problem with the Tories’ plans to get rid of free school meals. Lots of parents don’t qualify for free school meals but are still facing serious financial challenges and could easily have problems paying promptly for school means.
Children in that situation simply don’t learn well and if they’re not eating properly it’s impacting on their education and their whole life. We have an opportunity to solve this problem by giving every child free school meals and the Labour Party have promised to do exactly that.
Greasborough Primary is not the first school to threaten special measures against children whose parent’s fail to keep up with lunch payments. Last year, free school Michaela Community School threatened to put pupils in isolation with a sandwich at lunchtime if parents fell into arrears.
The Tories attempted to force through legislation to force all schools to become academies, but were forced into a U-turn in one of some thirty defeats inflicted on the government by Labour’s supposedly ‘ineffective opposition’.
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