Don't miss out on classy cuisine!
FAMILIES in Coventry could be missing out on hundreds of pounds worth of free school meals because they are not checking if they are entitled to them.
That's the warning from councillors, who want to highlight the city's school meals service as part of national School Meals Week this week.
They say parents and guardians entitled to free dinners for their youngsters could be missing out on savings of up to pounds 400 a year.
Coventry City Council City Services, which runs the school meals service, is urging people to find out if they are eligible for free school meals.
Parents may be losing out on pounds 267 for each primary school child and pounds 374 for each secondary pupil for the 191 school days in each school year.
Cllr Phil Townshend, cabinet member for city services, said: "School meals make an important contribution to children's general health and nutrition.
"Please do check the eligibility criteria to see if your children are entitled to free school meals and then register them."
Parents and guardians who are in receipt of Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance and Child Tax Credit, who earn less than pounds 13,230 per year, are entitled to free school meals. People who fall under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are also eligible.
Cllr Townshend added: "Some 10,000 primary school pupils have a school meal each day. We very much hope that your child will stay for lunch and have an enjoyable and satisfying lunchtime experience."
And deputy council leader Cllr George Duggins, cabinet member for education services, added: "Coventry City Council works to make sure every pupil in the city has the opportunity of a free school meal should they be entitled.
"Parents or guardians could be turning down hundreds of pounds worth of help each year simply by not checking if they are eligible."
Parents can check their child's entitlement to free school meals by phoning the school benefits office on 024 7683 1552 or 024 7683 1555.
Chace Primary School pupils deliver their verdicts
Do you like school dinners?: Yes, they're better than my mum's cooking!
Favourite school dinner: Chips and sausages.
Favourite pudding: Vanilla ice cream.
Least favourite school dinner: Nothing!
What would you like to see more of in the canteen?: Pasta bake
Michael Wayar, eight.
Do you like school dinners?: They taste really good. I always have seconds.
Favourite school dinner: Pizza
Favourite pudding: Cake and custard
Least favourite school dinner: Curry
What would you like to see more of in the canteen?: Spaghetti Bolognese and my mum's scrambled eggs on toast.
Do you like school dinners?: Yes, they're tasty
Favourite school dinner: Curry
Favourite pudding: Chocolate cake
Least favourite school dinner: Pizza
What would you like to see more of in the canteen?: Sunday roasts
Brogan Taylor, nine.
Do you like school dinners?: Yes, there is a lot of choice
Favourite school dinner: Sausages and chips
Favourite pudding: Shortbread
Least favourite school dinner: Vegetables
What would you like to see more of in the canteen?: Savoy cabbage
Penny Harrison, 10.
Do you like school dinners?: Yes, you get the best puddings!
Favourite school dinner: Sunday dinners
Favourite pudding: Custard and cake
Least favourite school dinner: Vegetables
What would you like to see more of in the canteen?: Fish fingers
Zoe Davis, eight.
Do you like school dinners?: Yes, because of chips and beans!
Favourite school dinner: Spaghetti and sausages
Favourite pudding: Yoghurt
Least favourite school dinner: Peas
What would you like to see more of in the canteen?: Spaghetti Bolognese
Corey Jay-Randale, seven.
Head's a firm fan of the roast!
SCHOOL meals at Southfields Primary School are so appetising, even the head can't resist the roast!
Janet Price said: "We have a really high uptake of school meals and promote them when the children are admitted.
"We also make sure parents are aware of the free school meals programme."
The School Council, canteen staff and teaching staff meet up regularly to discuss the nutritional value of school meals, while making sure the menu appeals to the pupils at the school in East Street, Hillfields.
Mrs Price added: "My favourite school meal is the roast dinner - it's very nice."
Lumpy custard a thing of the past
Schools first started giving free school meals after the 1906 Education Act was passed. In 1921, this was extended to free milk.
In 1937, a report called Food, Health and Income, published by John Boyd Orr, revealed that there was a link between low income, malnutrition and underachievement in schools.
Following the 1945 general election, new Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, appointed Ellen Wilkinson as Minister of Education, the first woman in British history to hold the post. She campaigned for the wider introduction of free school meals for low income families.
But the old-fashioned idea of school dinners as lumpy custard and cold gravy couldn't be further from the truth now. The Evening Telegraph compared sample menus from the 1950s and the city services' new Treasure Island menu that today's youngsters can choose from.
Cold Meat, Potato and Beetroot
Liver with Cabbage
Steak and Kidney Pie
Semolina with a dollop of Jam
Golden Chicken Crocodile
Fish &Tomato Sauce Seashells
Tuna & Cucumber Sandwich
Battered Pork Pieces
Seasonal Green Salad
Selection of Fresh Fruit
Melon Jewels & Ice Cream
Assorted Fruit Yoghurt
HEALTHY MENU: City council cabinet member for education Cllr George Duggins and transport and benefits manager Storm Morgan join pupils (clockwise, from front, left) Shane Watt, Daniel Watt, Azra Foric, Vinolia Keyne, Shannon Bayliss and Kane Bayliss for a typical school meal. Picture: RICHARD NELMES
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|Publication:||Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)|
|Date:||Sep 18, 2003|
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