Parents told to pay up or kids get toast!

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Parents who have not paid up for school dinners at a Dunstable school have been told their youngsters may be just served toast.

Lancot School has warned parents that its catering company, Hobbs, is owed “significant amounts of money from parents”.

In a newsletter the school says: “As a business this is putting them in a very difficult position.

“If debts are not cleared, they are unable to provide further meals to the pupils in question”.

The letter goes on to say that the school’s only option would be to provide pupils with food already on site for the breakfast club, such as toast: “as we are not prepared for them to suffer for an unresolved issue that is not directly their fault.”

But one parent is horrified at the school’s response.

The parent, who did not want to be named, said: “Whilst I do not owe money to the school catering company I would hate to think if I did my child would not be provided with a warm meal. Surely the reasons some parents cannot pay their debt is because they are struggling financially and may be reliant on the school providing their child with a meal.

“I have previously been told I owe money for which I could provide a receipt for a cash payment, with such unreliable systems I find this unacceptable.”

Challenger Multi Academy Trust which runs Lancot, said: “It is the responsibility of parents to either pay for a school meal or to provide a packed lunch for their child when they are not entitled to Free School Meals. Should financial problems arise, we are always happy to talk and come to an arrangement. Under no circumstances would we see a child left without food while under our duty of care.

“We would encourage any parent whose situation changes or who is facing financial difficulty to contact the school directly.

The primary school, on Lancot Drive, has around 500 pupils.

Social media is divided over the issue, with some people saying the children should not have to suffer and that school meals should be free, while others say parents should take responsibility, clear their debts or provide packed lunches.

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