School’s new lunchtime struggle

Laura Shaw serves MP Eric Ollerenshaw, watched by  Gabby, six and Stephen, six at Scorton CE Primary school.
Laura Shaw serves MP Eric Ollerenshaw, watched by Gabby, six and Stephen, six at Scorton CE Primary school.
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A Fylde coast MP dropped in for lunch at a village primary school – to see how staff are coping with the demands of a new Government initiative on 
pupils’ meals.

Eric Ollerenshaw, the Lancaster and Fleetwood MP, visited Scorton CE Primary School near Garstang on Friday, to learn how the school is implementing the new ‘free school dinners for all infants’ policy.

Scorton, along with Calder Vale St John’s CE Primary, is having meals made and delivered by local business The Barn at Scorton, due to a lack of kitchen facilities.

And shortage of space at Scorton means that in order to turn their classroom into a temporary dining room, 
pupils have to move out.

Headteacher Helen Hesketh said: “We have worked with the local business community to put the infant meals initiative into place.

“The children and parents are able to have some input into our menu and so far the take up of school meals is 100 per cent.

“Pupils enjoy a delicious, healthy and hot school dinner each day.”

But she added: “This has been a welcome but difficult initiative to put in place in a very short time frame.

“We are fortunate we’ve been able to find a provider literally across the road so we can support our community and our community can support us.”

Mr Ollerenshaw said: “In my view the policy may be right, but it was one of those things that was brought in too quickly and too little account was taken of smaller rural schools and we’re now trying to pick up the pieces.”

The school hopes to be able to offer older pupils the oppportuity to buy a hot lunch after half-term.

Chairman of Scorton school’s governors Jonty Colllinson said the school is now trying to access funds to create a new dining area.

He said: “We have no kitchen so have to buy in meals and we have no dedicated dining area so have to sit at desks which absolutely disrupts class time.”

Scorton school believes a new garden room or portable classroom could be the answer to its dining room challenge.

Mr Ollerenshaw praised the staff and village community for finding a temporary solution and pledged to see how he could help the school.

Local vicar the Rev David Brown said: “It’s not ideal eating in a classroom.... once they can find a place for them to eat in – an extension or building then it will be absolutely excellent.”