Council apologises for school dinner debt letter ‘distress’

CREDIT: This story was first seen in BBC News

Angus Council has apologised after a primary school said it would withdraw school meals from pupils if their parents owed more than £10.50 in fees, BBC News reports.

The authority said the wording of a letter issued to parents from Inverbrothock Primary School in Arbroath had “caused some concern”.

The council said it was sorry for “any distress caused” by the letter.

It said measures were in place to ensure “no child goes without a lunchtime meal”.

In the letter, which was seen by The Times newspaper, the school’s head teacher said further lunch orders would be cancelled if an online debt reached more than £10.50, the cost of a week’s worth of meals.

It said parents would be asked to make “alternative lunch arrangements” until the debt was paid in full.

P1 to P3 pupils in Scotland are eligible for free school meals. The parents of older pupils can claim free school lunches if they receive state benefits.

A spokesman for Angus Council said its school meal system’s £10.50 threshold was set to help people manage their accounts.

He said: “If the threshold is reached we contact the parent/carer to see if there are any concerns or issues that we should be aware of and provide them with information on available assistance.

“The purpose of the letter issued was to remind parents/carers of that £10.50 threshold, however, we accept that the wording has caused some concern.

“We apologise for any distress caused and are now taking steps to address this.

“Where a parent/carer contacts us to highlight any difficulties they are experiencing, we will always work with them to ensure that a solution is found, to ensure that no child goes without a lunchtime meal.”

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