Fuming parents slam school over meals ‘not fit for a dog let alone a child’

Fuming parents have slammed a school for serving meals to their children that were “absolutely inedible”.

Parents and carers from Exwick and St Thomas in Devon got in touch with a local councillor to share pictures of the food they said “wouldn’t be served to a dog, let alone a child”.

Cllr Rob Hannaford told a Devon County Council meeting on Thursday that parents had been in touch to flag the very poor quality of meals and snacks offered to children at school.

The meeting was shown pictures of meals that were a “complete insult to children” and sent from a parent at West Exe School, DevonLive reports.

One of the pictures provided appeared to show a chicken leg and wing served up in what appears to be a paper cup.

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A second picture appears to show tortilla chips with melted cheese on top, but it is difficult to tell.

Cllr Hannaford read out a letter from a West Exe school parent which said: “My daughter is currently in year 10 at West Exe School and has recently sent me pictures of the absolutely inedible and horrendous meals/snacks they are offering and serving to their students, our children.

“As a parent I want my child to be offered nutritional food and food that look appetising and edible. As you can see from the photos I have provided these are neither of those things. I wouldn’t even serve this to a dog let alone a child.

“I appreciate they have to stick to a budget however this is unacceptable and in my opinion a complete insult to our children. They shouldn’t have to suffer as a consequence of the supply change.”

It comes after parents took to Twitter last month to share pictures of what they branded “unacceptable” school meals.

The pictures caught the attention of Manchester Utd striker Marcus Rashford, who, after getting the government to ensure free school meals during the summer holiday last year, said he would investigate the issue further.

Devon City Council’s cabinet member for schools Cllr James McInnes, said the school’s provider apologised for the quality of the meals on one day that had been sent, and that they put a plan together which includes further training in regard to quality and portion control.

Asking for a report on the issue, Cllr Hannaford branded the pictures “grim”.

He called on the cabinet member “to report on these specific matters, and more generally across the county, including any current issues around substandard cuisine, unhealthy ingredients and inadequate portion sizes.”

He added: “I do acknowledge that it was rectified but we want to make sure children are being looked after and eating properly.”

In response, Cllr McInnes added: “School governing bodies and academy trusts are responsible for the provision of school meals and it is for them to choose their catering provider and ensure that the lunches, and other food or drink served, meets the Standards for school food in England.

“We will only discuss the issue with the school if there seems to be a wider concern regarding quality or provision.

“It should however be noted that a large number of Devon schools are contracted with Devon Norse to provide their school meals.

“As Devon Norse is Joint Venture with Devon County Council, we have more control over the meals provided and pick up any concerns at monthly management meetings.”

On the West Exe School issue, he added: “The contract for the provision of facilities management (including catering) changed to a new provider on April 1.

“It is understood that food served, in a school, on one of the days in the first week of delivery did not meet the new providers, the school’s or parental expectations and a complaint was received.

“The provider has apologised to the school concerned and has put a plan together which includes further training in regard to quality and portion control. The schools working with the new provider will continue to monitor the standard of meals provided.”