Get your priorities right

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

My eldest came home from school yesterday complaining that kids at school were given gifts if they stayed for school dinners instead of sandwiches.

As much as I would love my kids to be able to have school dinners (I wouldn’t have to get up at 6.30am to make their sandwiches then) I can’t afford it.  I have 4 kids and 3 of them are at school.  At £2 each for a dinner that’s £30 per week or at least £120 per month.  That’s more than a weeks shopping!

Of course, if I didn’t have a job or I refused to work more than 16 hours a week or I was an asylum seeker then I wouldn’t have to worry about paying for school meals because they’d be free.

Anyway, I was more than a little pissed off about this so I phoned the council.  The person I spoke to said that they wanted to encourage children to have school meals and that they needed to do this to protect the school meals service.  This I understand and told him so but, I asked, have you considered the position that this puts parents in when their kids come home asking to stay for school dinners because they want a present like their friends have.  A bit of bluster and then he said that no, he hadn’t considered that and he can see that it might encourage children to put pressure on their parents just like McDonalds giving away free toys with Happy Meals and that they would take this into account when they discuss marketing in future.  I pointed out that they were rewarding every child that has a school meal even though 25% of them are entitled to a free meal and don’t need encouraging.  There wasn’t a lot he could say to that really other than say that they didn’t differentiate between paying and non-paying children.  Understandably so but it still doesn’t make it right.

So what’s the underlying issue here?  Well partly it’s marketing people treating school meals like a business but mostly it’s the way that public services have been turned into businesses.  School meals are a service and if they cost money then so be it.  School meals should be free for every child, not just the children of wasters and asylum seekers.

Technorati Technorati Tags:


  1. axel (1214 comments) says:

    Maybe I’m just old but I remember when it was great that school dinners were 9p and I either got 10p a day or 50p per week from my dad!

  2. steve (38 comments) says:

    we’ve also got 2 of 4 on sandwiches. The youngest is only at nursery so is home for lunch and the oldest is at secondary school and is out from 8-5:30, so needs the choice of a proper (at least hot) meal. But the 2 at primary are on sandwiches, also for cost reasons. The choice of their meals when they do have them is generally OK, but I wonder how much better things would be if more than 26p of the £1.65 per meal per day was spent on food as opposed to marketing gimmicks.

  3. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    Though I object to your use of the term “wasters” – you should be careful not to use such language around your own children, I’m sure you wouldn’t want them to bully those children who currently recieve free school meals – I agree that school meals should be free to all children and of the highest quality.

    The commodification of public services comes about because politicians must “grow the economy” – which really means “increase profits for big business” as there’s little help given to small enterprises. PFI projects to build schools and hospitals have proved costly for the taxpayer – public builds would have been cheaper – but these schemes have allowed Brown to hide public debt and give big business a shot in the arm.

  4. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Though I object to your use of the term “wasters” – you should be careful not to use such language around your own children, I’m sure you wouldn’t want them to bully those children who currently recieve free school meals

    You haven’t seen the stinking dregs of society that haul themselves (often late) to the school of a morning. No, I wouldn’t use the term “wasters” while the kids were listening, give me some credit!

    I see there was something in the news yesterday about the huge cost of PFI to the taxpayer and how it’s higher than expected.

  5. George Ashcroft (122 comments) says:

    The problem is that more often than not, the hard-working, tax-paying family are simply not even considered when these kinds of initiatives are devised.

  6. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    Wonko – my apologies for questioning your competence as a father… My bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.