Council u-turn on Fife school meals after petition

The petition calling on Fife Council not to axe the pick and mix option at primary schools. The Council has now halted the plans.
The petition calling on Fife Council not to axe the pick and mix option at primary schools. The Council has now halted the plans.

The leader of Fife Council has announced a U-turn on a decision to remove a popular school meal plan from Fife’s primary schools.

The leader of Fife Council has announced a U-turn on a decision to remove a popular school meal plan from Fife’s primary schools.

Some parents were made told last week that the ‘pick and mix’ option, which allows children to have a sandwich or baguette with a yoghurt and some fruit instead of the hot meal, would be removed.

News quickly spread through social media and Emma Grub, a parent from East Wemyss, set up a petition calling on Fife Council to reverse its decision. At the time of going to press, it had gathered just under 3700 signatures.

Speaking just hours before the U-turn was announced by Council leader David Ross, Emma said: “I found out about the decision to remove the pick and mix option on Friday.

“My eldest child starts school in August and this would have been what he’d have chosen because he’s used to having a sandwich at home.”

Emma said the removal of the pick and mix option would mean a lot of parents would be forced to send their child to school with a packed lunch, meaning they wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the free school meals scheme for P1-3 children.

“The fact is we didn’t know about this until the weekend,” said Emma. “Why weren’t parents made aware during the consultation this might happen? When were they going to tell us? It’s like they were trying to sneak it in – it’s ridiculous.”

In a statement released on Tuesday, David Ross said: “Parents have raised a number of concerns regarding the proposed menu change and as a result we have called a halt to the proposed changes being implemented.

“These changes were proposed in response to the cut in the Council’s budget imposed by the Scottish Government.

“We have always recognised the importance for Fife’s children to have a healthy, balanced lunch and our menu and choices have always reflected that and will continue to do so in the future.”

Emma welcomed the move, adding: “This is great news for all Fife primary school children, who will now continue to have a choice of food at lunchtimes.

“I strongly believe that Fife Council need to open up lines of communication with the public on future matters so that our voices can be heard on issues which are important to us.”

David Ross noted Fife Council was committed to ensuring the good health of its pupils, introducing provision for breakfast clubs and offering free fruit to younger pupils. He added: “We recognise the importance of understanding what is valued by parents and children as part of the lunch time menu choice and we want to look at this aspect in more detail and we will now look at this again. I want to thank parents for getting in touch about this and appreciate the constructive way they have raised their concerns.”