Fury over South Yorkshire school’s packed lunch ban

Dad Adam Martin , 31, and his wife Claire, 30, and  their three children Harry,4, Geroge, 5, and Amelia, 7
Dad Adam Martin , 31, and his wife Claire, 30, and their three children Harry,4, Geroge, 5, and Amelia, 7
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Parents have removed six children from a South Yorkshire primary school after packed lunches were banned.

Milefield Primary School in Grimethorpe, Barnsley, informed parents of the move in a letter sent home with pupils on the last day of term in July – and the ban was introduced last week.

Mum Debbie Curphey, dad Mick with their children William, 8, and Beth, 7

Mum Debbie Curphey, dad Mick with their children William, 8, and Beth, 7

Now angry dad Adam Martin, aged 31, has taken his three children – Harry, four, George, five, and Amelia, seven – out of the school in protest.

The gas engineer said: “I feel like our freedom of choice has been taken away.

“We were appalled to be told our children couldn’t take in packed lunches, and further incensed by how the school has dealt with the situation.

“We like our kids to have a packed lunch because, not only does it save us money, but it also allows you to be able to let your children eat what they like.

“When you have fussy eaters, as children quite often are, it means you can make sure they are eating a full balanced meal.

“The packed lunches we make are healthy and nutritious, and we don’t need somebody to tell us what our children should be eating.

“Over the summer we have been emailing the school and the Department for Education and made a complaint to the Universal Free School Meal Hotline, but we didn’t get anywhere.

“We feel very strongly about this. I’m sure this must be violating some kind of human right.”

A Facebook group of around 60 angry parents has been set up to discuss the issue.

Adam said: “Kids have been removed from the school because of this.

“Another problem is that the school only has one choice of meal, so the kids either have to like it or lump it.”

IT consultant Mick Curphey, 39, whose children William, eight, and Beth, seven, also attend the school, but have not been taken out of classes, said he hopes packed lunches are reintroduced.

“The cost of packed lunches is swallowed up in our weekly shopping bill so we basically don’t feel the cost. But if we have to pay for lunches it is more money we have to find to pay another bill,” he said.

“Our food bill will not come down.

“We know some people who have four kids and when you look at those costs it just gets atrocious.”

Headteacher Paula Murray said: “We’re not forcing anyone. We’re encouraging the promotion of healthy eating and it’s had such positive impact.

“The parents have the choice of taking their children home if they don’t want them to have a school meal.

“We have got to work towards what’s best for our children, and a large proportion of children in the school – over 97 per cent of parents – are in favour of the changes.”