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Dad ‘ignored’ by school after offering to pay pupils’ £1,800 dinner debt

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A dad who wanted to pay off lunch debts racked up by schoolkids says he received 'no reply' to his offer.

Parenting blogger and dad-of-four Simon Harris attempted to step in when parents at Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle secondary school in Penygroes, Gwynedd received a letter warning them that their children would not be fed dinners unless accounts were settled.

After the letter was leaked online, Mr Harris called the letter "madness" and said he would pay the £1,800 that was outstanding on all the pupils' accounts, according to North Wales Live.

But Mr Harris, who runs a blog called Man Behaving Dadly, has now said his offer was not taken up by the school.

In a post on Facebook, Mr Harris said: "After offering to pay the pupil lunch debt at Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle, I had no reply to the tweets or emails, and it was made clear to me by others linked to the school/council that any attempt to transfer the money to them would be refunded."

However, the school has now done a U-turn on the issue., and has told local parents that meals will no longer be withheld.

Gwynedd council, the local authority responsible for the school, said in a statement that the "welfare of children and young people is always our priority", and any parents struggling to pay should get in touch.

The dad-of-four has instead decided to donate the money to a local foodbank.

He wrote: "Therefore, I’m pleased to say that the £1,800 has now been donated to Arfon Food Bank / Banc Bwyd Arfon who are the closest Trussell Trust-linked food bank to the village

"Some of their food packages go to families within the school’s catchment area, and so it’s still going to benefit families with pupils at the school."

The Essex-based blogger told North Wales Live: "I've tried to be as good as my word in the circumstances."

Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle's letter attracted lots of media attention after it was posted on social media last week.

Premier League footballer and free school meals advocate Marcus Rashford responded to the letter and called for the school to be "more understanding" of pupils' circumstances.

It has now been announced that primary school pupils in Wales will be given free school meals as part of a new deal between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru.

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