Richmondshire parents have welcomed the Government’s decision to allow schools to issue vouchers for food after receiving “embarrassing” food parcels.
Photos of food parcels received by parents have posted on social media by parents across the country this week, including some in our area.
One mother of children attending Trinity Academy Richmond posted a photo of the £15 food parcel she had received.
The mum, who asked not to be named, said: “With the last vouchers I could buy lunch for the week and it went towards having decent dinners too.
“This is an embarrassment for the company supplying the food — the kids in school are getting a cooked dinner and we get this.”
Another parent sent a photo of her food parcel receive from Trinity Academy Richmond to Richmondshire Today.
She said: “This is the food parcel I collected today from Trinity Academy Richmond.
“This should be worth £15 as this is what I would have received in the vouchers. I could have gotten so much more if I had gone to the shop and bought myself.”
The school’s catering is contracted out to Lancashire-based Mellors Catering.
The company had not responded to a request to comment by this morning.
However, Damian Chubb, chief executive of Dales Academies Trust, which runs the school, said Trinity Academy Richmond was committed to the wellbeing of all its pupils in mind and body, whether they are in school or at home during this challenging period of lockdown.
He added: “The school has learned with concern of a parental complaint made to the press today about the contents of a food parcel distributed by Mellors, who provide catering services to the school.
“While the school has no direct control over the contents of these parcels, we are urgently liaising with Mellors to ensure that pupils have access to sufficient, healthy and nutritional food for lunch.
“The school always welcomes contact from parents on this or any other matter affecting the welfare of any or all of our pupils.”
Photos posted online of the food parcels have prompted calls for the Government to allow schools to issue food vouchers rather food parcels to parents eligible for free school meals for their children, as happened during the previous lockdowns.
The issue has been highlighted by celebrities including footballer Marcus Rashford.
And yesterday Education Secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday announced that schools would be able to offer vouchers rather than food parcels from next week.
Gavin Williamson told the education select committee that he was “absolutely disgusted” by one photo of a food parcel’s contents, and that his department had made it clear “this sort of behaviour is just not right [and] will not be tolerated”.
He said the government would “support any school that needs to take action” and “name and shame those that are not delivering against the standards” set by the Department for Education.
The decision to allow schools to issue food vouchers was last night welcomed by the parent who sent Richmondshire Today a photo of her food parcel.
She said: “I know that I would get so much more than what they provided.”
The education secretary said schools will be able to offer vouchers rather than food parcels from next week.
Gavin Williamson told the education select committee on Wednesday that he was “absolutely disgusted” by the photo of the food parcel’s contents, and that his department had made it clear “this sort of behaviour is just not right [and] will not be tolerated”.