Laura Sharman 13 January 2021

Councils urge action over 'disgusting' free school meals pictures

Councils urge action over disgusting free school meals pictures image

The Government has promised to investigate after pictures appeared on social media of ‘disgusting’ free school meal parcels.

Parents have taken to Twitter to share photos of the food parcels received, criticising the fact the food contained could be brought in a supermarket for around £5.


Education secretary, Gavin Williamson, told the BBC he was ‘disgusted’ by the pictures. Chartwells, the company that supplied the food parcel, has apologised and pledged to enhance its food parcels.

A statement from the company said: ‘We have had time to investigate the picture circulated on Twitter. For clarity this shows five days of free school lunches (not ten days) and the charge for food, packing and distribution was actually £10.50 and not £30 as suggested. However, in our efforts to provide thousands of food parcels a week at extremely short notice we are very sorry the quantity has fallen short in this instance.’

Cllr Judith Blake, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: ‘Commercial providers must work with schools and councils where necessary to ensure that food parcels are of a high standard, meet nutritional needs and are enough for individuals and families. It has undoubtedly been challenging for them to switch from providing meals in school to delivering them remotely to families at short notice, but it is extremely concerning if contractors in some areas are failing to meet basic standards.

’Ensuring vulnerable pupils are provided for is a top priority for councils with many delivering high quality food boxes in partnership with schools. It is right that they have the choice between vouchers and food boxes based on local needs and providers.’

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