School Meals

You can bring you sandwiches to school, or eat school dinner. You have to hand in school dinner money on Monday morning of each week. But if you don't, the dinner laddy won't let your child be hungry, they give your child lunch, but you may be in debts. It is reported in local Telegraph that one headteacher threatened to call in sheriff to recover unpaid debts for school dinner and other expenses, such as school strips.

My daughter wishes she can eat school dinner in the large dinner hall instead of in her classroom, because school dinner has ice cream, she says. Then I found out that she just doesn't like tomato or cucumber in her sandwiches. But my wife says Schoool Meals are very expensive, and how we wish we can apply free school meals, because only parents in receipt of benefits can apply for Free School Meals.

Below is a copy of the Protocol for School Meals Debts.

Protocol for School Meals Debts

1. Introduction
The Local Authority no longer Invoices parents for unpaid school dinners. From 1st September 2006, the Primary School will be responsible in full for any school meals debts incurred by parents.
The Primary School will adopt a 'zero tolerance' approach to unpaid school meals debts. Parents will be informed of this approach via the parental newsletter. The paying of school meals will form part of the Home/School Agreement between the school and parents.
All parents will be provided with a copy of the protocol at the beginning of each school year or when their child joins the school.
2. Protocol
Stage 1
All school meals must be paid for in full on Monday of each week. Payment must be made for meals in advance. If a child is absent on Monday, then the parent must pay on the first day that the child returns to school. No child should be sent to school without the money to pay for their school meal.
Parents who do not want their child to have a school meal should provide a packed lunch or arrange to take their child home for the lunch period.
Stage 2
If a child comes to school without the money to pay for their school meal, a member of the administrative team will endeavour to make telephone contact with the parent of the child concerned. The parent will be asked to bring the school meal money or sandwiches before 12.00pm. The parent may choose to take the child home for the lunch period if they are unable to pay or bring in sandwiches.
Stage 3
If the parent does not comply with the options in Stage 2, the Headteacher will send a letter (see Appendix A) explaining that their child has been given a school meal which has not been paid for. The letter will explain that the school will begin legal proceedings against the parent to recover the school meal debt.
For each subsequent unpaid school meal the dinner debt will accrue and school will continue to instigate legal proceedings to recover the school meal debt. In these cases, a letter will be sent to parents on each occasion that an unpaid school meal has been provided (see Appendix B).

Regardless of the size of any debt accrued, no child will be prevented from having a school meal.
Parents in receipt of benefits will be encouraged to apply for Free School Meals.
Parents will be required to give one months notice in writing if they wish to change dinner arrangements. Daily changes from dinners to sandwiches and vice-versa will not be tolerated unless there are exceptional circumstances.
3. Review
This protocol will be reviewed annually.
These guidelines were written in July 2006.
Agreed:
To be reviewed:

Appendix

Date:.....................

Dear Parent of

Dinner Money Debt
A member of the schools Administrative Team telephoned you this morning about the unpaid dinner money you owe us. According to our records, this amount was not paid by 12.00pm and you now owe us £ ____ in total.
School operates a zero tolerance policy to dinner money debts. We would like to remind you that dinner money should be paid in full on Monday morning or on the first day that your child returns to school.
Please send the full amount owing with your child in the morning and we will then be able to continue to provide a school dinner. Unless we receive the above amount in full with your child tomorrow, the school will have no alternative but to instigate legal proceedings against you to recover the debt.
A copy of the schools Protocol for School Meals Debts is available on request. Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation.

Yours sincerely

Headteacher

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