A new school menu has come under fire from one of the kids’ parents, who is complaining that pupils are now being fed a diet of “constant potatoes”.
The grumbling began when Richmond Primary School, in Hinckley, Leicestershire, warned it had been forced to make temporary changes to the lunch menu because staff availability had been hit by Covid-19 cases, reports Leicestershire Live.
"During the autumn term we were suffering with very high levels of staff sickness but we managed to maintain good service until Christmas,” the catering manager wrote in a letter sent to parents.
“With the ongoing pandemic and the increase in Omicron cases, this situation worsened after Christmas.
"We have robust contingency plans in place to deal with staff shortages and these plans involve a simplified menu which can be delivered with fewer staff.
"While we are experiencing high levels of staff absence, we will be introducing a simplified menu. This will start from Monday 17 January 2022.
"A simplified menu will ensure we can continue to support the seamless delivery of good quality, hot, healthy school meals at your school every day."
But one of the parents – who has chosen to remain anonymous – has hit out at the move.
“It's gone from being a varied, fairly interesting menu to being pretty much constant potatoes,” the parent told Leicestershire Live.
"On one day, one of the menu options is a jacket potato with chicken mayonnaise that you can have with a side of jacket potato.
"On other days, you can order a jacket potato with jacket wedges, creamy mashed potatoes, chips, minted potatoes and parsley potatoes.
"I understand that everyone is dealing with staff shortages, but why does that mean that our kids now have to exist on a diet of potatoes cooked in different ways?
"It's especially tough for vegetarian or vegan kids. I'm assuming most will resort to a packed lunch, unless they really love potatoes."
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A spokesperson for Leicestershire County Council said the decision was not taken lightly and was developed with dieticians to ensure healthy meals continue to be served despite absences.
“We would like to stress that this is a temporary measure to ensure business continuity, and the intention of the service is to regularly review the situation to reinstate the full choice menu as soon as is possible,” the spokesperson said.
“The revised menu continues to provide choice and value for money while meeting government food standards, and it has been carefully pulled together taking into account both cultural and dietary requirements.
“School food service staff are working extremely hard in very challenging circumstances and the measures that are being put in place will support the wellbeing of staff and the continued delivery of a high standard service.”
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