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Tax’ for children who bring in their own packed lunch

17 April 2017 595 views No Comment

school mealSandwich tax’ supposedly goes towards cleaning and supervision in dining halls
School leaders said it was a sign of the ‘hard financial times’ their institution’s face
Department for Education called it ‘unacceptable’ and urged people to complain
By Sarah Harris for the Daily Mail
A growing number of state schools are charging pupils to eat their own packed lunch in the canteen, teachers warn
The so-called ‘sandwich tax’ costs parents up to £2 a day – which supposedly goes towards cleaning and supervision in dining halls.
School leaders said it was a sign of the ‘hard financial times’ their institutions face.
But yesterday the Department for Education slammed the practice as ‘unacceptable’ and urged families to complain to the schools involved.
The NASUWT teaching union quizzed families about the hidden costs of state education
Twenty-six out of 2,211 (1.18 percent) parents who answered a question about school food said their child had to pay to bring in a lunch box this year – with around half charged between £1.50 and £2 a day.
This was up from 14 (0.95 percent) who said there were fees when 1,472 parents responded to a similar survey last year.
Speaking ahead of the union’s annual conference in Manchester this weekend, Dr Patrick Roach, deputy general secretary of the NASUWT, said: ‘For many parents who are, in the words of the Prime Minister, just about managing, their children may not qualify for free school lunch.
‘Parents are saying “I can’t afford the price of school lunch, I’ll send my child in with sandwiches”, only to find they’re paying between £1 and £2 a day just for the right of the child to sit in the cafeteria. Quite honestly, that defies common sense and reasonableness from our point of view.’
Dr. Roach said the Education Act 2011 ‘opened the door’ to this practice by enabling schools to charge for ‘optional extras’. He said: ‘It’s outrageous that the Government has allowed schools to be able to charge for this.
‘When you have 1 or 2 percent of schools that are choosing to apply such practice as a sandwich tax, that’s too many.
‘We allow that to take root, and suddenly it becomes the norm and every school across the system are doing this on the pretext that it helps schools to make ends meet.’

The so-called ‘sandwich tax’ costs parents up to £2 a day – which supposedly goes towards cleaning and supervision in dining halls

Margaret Morrissey, from family pressure group, Parents Outloud, said: ‘This is outrageous. It’s a sandwich tax on parents.
‘You pay taxes to the Government for your child’s school indirectly, you pay council tax to the local authority. It is absolutely incredible that we’ve reached the stage in schools where if you want to take in something to eat you’ve got to pay for it.’

In total, 3,934 parents were questioned by the NASUWT about the overall costs of state schooling. Almost one in five (18 percent) have been asked to make a regular financial contribution to their child’s school via direct debit or standing order.
A fifth of these said they paid between £51 and £100 annually. Some 6 percent paid £400 or more a year. Around one in eight said they were expected to make regular donations by cash or cheque, with 6 percent paying over £100 annually using this method.
Over half (51 percent) said the school had asked for money to ‘enhance resources’, while 23 percent said demands were due to budget constraints.
Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘Schools are obliged to provide for sandwich pupils the perfect place for them to eat and water to drink. We would not expect schools to be charging in any way to provide this for pupils with lunch boxes.’
He added: ‘All of these things about charging for anything are just a symptom of the hard financial times that schools are finding themselves in – but this is not something we expect to see.’
A Department for Education spokesman said yesterday: ‘It is unacceptable for schools to charge pupils to eat their own packed lunches in canteens. Parents should raise any concerns about this directly with the school.’
Sarah Harris Daily Mail

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