Health & Fitness: Parents say pupils are are coming home 'starving' as they are not given enough time to eat lunch

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Pupils at a secondary school are missing lunch because the canteen is so busy, parents claim.

Parents at Co-op Academy in Higher Blackley say that their children are coming home 'starving' as there is not got enough time to eat lunch.

Pupils are having to eat within lunch breaks that are too short which means that they are going homes with bellies 'rumbling', claim parents.

Long queues at the school canteen has meant that by the time children have received their lunches, there is not enough time to eat them.

The school extended the lunch break by 10 minutes, from 30 minutes to 40 minutes.

A spokesperson from the school said that wait times can often be longer at the start of a school year as new pupils settle in.

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Charlotte Lockwood, who has a daughter in year eight, said: 'Sometimes she's been getting her dinner, but then they are telling her she's not got enough time to eat it.

'Sometimes she's not even bothering to queue up because she knows there isn't enough time.

'As soon as she gets home she's starving. It needs to be a lot more organised. A lot of parents are saying the same thing.

'Some parents can't afford to feed their kids at home, so this is the only meal they're getting.'

Pupils at a north Manchester secondary school are missing dinner because the canteen is so busy, parents claim © Provided by Daily Mail Pupils at a north Manchester secondary school are missing dinner because the canteen is so busy, parents claim

Becky Andrews, whose son is in year ten, said: 'He's coming home from school absolutely exhausted.

'He's lightheaded, because he's had nothing to eat. I don't know how they expect kids to concentrate without eating.'

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Jo, the parent of a year nine pupil said: 'They haven't got enough time to their dinner because the queues are so long. This week my son's just been having water for his dinner.

'He's coming home starving. He comes home and he just crashes out. He says he feels light-headed. It's just not on.

'How does the school expect kids to concentrate and do their work when their bellies are rumbling?'

Several parents have also been raising concerns on a local Facebook page, one wrote: 'None of my boys have had lunch since they went back.

Queues too long and not enough time, by the time they get to the front their dinner is over.'

Parents at Co-op Academy in Higher Blackley say that their children are coming home 'starving' (stock image) © Provided by Daily Mail Parents at Co-op Academy in Higher Blackley say that their children are coming home 'starving' (stock image)

In a statement Co-op Academy said: 'At Co-op Academy Manchester we are acutely aware of our responsibility to our students and their welfare.

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'We take their access to food really seriously, which is why after a consultation with parents last year, we extended our lunch times to 40 minutes at the beginning of this academic year.

The school said that in the first few weeks of every academic year they found that students who are settling in were also behind making 'wait times longer'.

More staff have been made available, according to the school and students struggling to get their lunch are being encouraged to approach these members of staff to support them.

'We want to make sure all parents are aware that in no instance are children left to go hungry or told they don't have enough time to eat their lunch, our on-duty staff have been letting students who are running over their lunchtime stay in the lunch hall.

'There has also not been an instance where there is no food left at the end of lunchtime, there is always enough food for every student to have a nutritious lunch.

'Following on from those first few days, we have seen that queues have dissipated 10-15 minutes before the end of lunch, so there is no reason why students should not be able to access their lunch of choice.

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'We have extended further communication to families, advising them that if their child is struggling at lunch time to please make us aware so that we can support them.

We've also asked that students approach the lunch duty staff for support if they're not able to get their lunch.

'Access to food is something our academy, and Trust as a whole is passionate about offering to our students and wider community. We provide free breakfasts for all students and are in the process of installing a community fridge.

'Over the pandemic we provided all of our Free School Meal (FSM) students with food vouchers, after an investment from our sponsor the Co-op of over £2.5m. Providing them with double the amount offered by the government FSM scheme,' added the spokesperson.

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