Parents of pupils at Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in Penygroes, Gwynedd, were told their children would not be fed “if they are more than a penny in debt”
Marcus Rashford made the remarks on social media (Image: PA)
England footballer Marcus Rashford has called for compassion after a Welsh secondary school head teacher announced meals would not be served to children who owed money for food.
Parents of pupils at Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in Penygroes, Gwynedd, were told their children would not be fed “if they are more than a penny in debt”, Wales Online reports.
The Manchester United star, whose campaigning work on securing free school meals for children saw him handed an MBE, tweeted: “Has the pandemic not taught us anything? Can we not be understanding? Come on now…”
He added: “For many children, lunch at school is the only meal they’ll get…”
Headteacher Neil Foden’s edict sparked a backlash ( Image:
Daily Post) In a letter to parents Neil Foden, the strategic head of Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle, said the school cook had been instructed 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”.
A deadline of November 19 has been set for parents to get their children’s accounts up to date as there was a a deficit in the school meals budget at the end of the last half term.
Mr Foden said a “handful of pupils” had run up debts totalling close to £2,000 and apologised for the approach but said the “scale of the default means that something clearly has to be done”.
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.”
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The original message sparked fury on social media with some criticising the headteacher’s decision.
One person wrote: “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!”
One more person said: “I would suggest that the head himself tells the kids they cant eat, don’t put that on the kitchen staff! We’ve gone from giving children free breakfasts to this. Think of the damage this is doing!”
A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said previously: “We would urge any parent or guardian who are having difficulty in paying for their child’s school meals to contact the education department or school directly. Their child may be entitled to free school meals.
“In terms of payment of school meals, an online system has been introduced on which parents should ensure that sufficient funds are in place to pay for their child’s school meals.
“The payment system offers some flexibility for parents who may for whatever reason not be able to make payment for a short period of time.
“Reminder messages are sent as required to ensure that no significant debts are incurred.
“As a council, we do not operate a blanket policy of refusing meals to pupils, and will discuss this matter directly with the school.”
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