Parents say pupils will go home ‘starving’ because they are not given enough time to eat lunch

Parents claim that high school students miss lunch because the canteen is too busy.

Parents at Co-op Academy in High Blackley say their kids come home “starving” as there isn’t enough time for lunch.

Pupils have to eat on their lunch breaks which are very short which means they go home with their ‘rumbling’ stomachs, parents say.

Long queues in the school canteen mean that by the time the children receive their lunches, there is not enough time to eat them.

The school extended the lunch break by 10 minutes, from 30 minutes to 40 minutes.

A school spokesperson said waiting times are often longer at the start of the school year as new students settle in.

Charlotte Lockwood, who has an eight-year-old daughter, said: ‘Sometimes she would have her dinner, but then they would tell her she didn’t have time to eat it.

Sometimes she doesn’t even bother standing in line because she knows there isn’t enough time.

As soon as she gets home she is starving. You have to be more organized. Lots of parents say the same thing.

“Some parents can’t feed their kids at home, so that’s the only meal they get.”

Parents claim high school pupils in North Manchester are missing dinner because the canteen is too busy

Becky Andrews, whose son is 10, said: ‘He comes home from school so exhausted.

‘He’s dizzy, because he had nothing to eat. I don’t know how they expect kids to focus without eating.

“They don’t have enough time for dinner because the queues are so long,” said Joe, mother of a nine-year-old pupil. “This week my son has been drinking water at his dinner.”

He’s coming home starving. He just came home and got off. He says he feels dizzy. It’s just not.

“How does the school expect children to focus and do their work when their stomachs are pounding?”

Several parents also raised their concerns on a local Facebook page, with one writing: ‘None of my boys have had lunch since they got back.

Queues are too long and not enough time, by the time they get to the front, their dinner is over.

Parents at Co-op Academy in High Blackley say their kids are going home 'starving' (stock image)

Parents at Co-op Academy in High Blackley say their kids are going home ‘starving’ (stock image)

Co-op Academy said in a statement: “At Co-op Academy Manchester, we are fully aware of our responsibility to our students and their well-being.

We take their access to food very seriously, which is why after consulting with parents last year, we extended our lunch times to 40 minutes at the start of this school year.

The school said it found in the first few weeks of each school year that students who settled in were also behind “making waiting times longer”.

More staff has been made available, according to the school, and students who are struggling to get their lunch are encouraged to reach out to these staff for their support.

We want to make sure that all parents are aware that in no case have children been left to starve or told that they do not have enough time for lunch, our on-duty staff has allowed students who run during lunch time to stay in the lunch hall.

“There has also been no case where there is no food left at the end of lunchtime, there is always enough food for each student for a nutritious lunch.

After those first few days, we saw that the queues dissipated about 10-15 minutes before the end of lunch, so there is no reason why students shouldn’t make it to the lunch of their choice.

We’ve expanded outreach to families, and are advising that if their child is struggling at lunchtime, please let us know so we can support them.

We have also asked students to contact the lunch shift staff for support if they are unable to get their lunch.

“Access to food is something for our academy, and the trust as a whole is excited to offer it to our students and our wider community. We are offering free breakfasts to all students and a community fridge is being installed.

During the pandemic, we have given all FSM students food vouchers, following an investment from our co-op sponsor of more than £2.5 million. “It will provide them with double the amount provided by the government’s FSM plan,” the ministry spokesperson added.