Our kids are going hungry as their school dinners are so disgusting – we're having to drop off food at the gates

ANGRY parents claim their kids are going hungry at school because they won't eat the 'disgusting' meals served up to them.

Parents of students at Wyvern Academy in Darlington say they are even having to drop food off to the school so their kids can eat – and have called for urgent changes to the menu.

Some say they rely on free school meals due to their low income but have had to spend money on packed lunches.

Parents claim their kids have been served tiny portions of potatoes and undercooked chicken.

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One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “They regularly run out of food by the time it's my daughter’s turn in the dining hall. She often texts and asks me to drop off food.

"She takes a packed lunch as standard now in case she can't get a meal at school, so she isn't hungry for the rest of the day.”

Another parent said they had recently started sending their child in with packed lunches.

They added: “This has been going on for a while. My child, along with others, are eligible for free school meals [but] now I'm having to provide her with a packed lunch.”

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Several parents said they tried to speak to the school but claimed that they did not receive a reply.

One parent explained: “I complained about the school meals as my daughter didn't get fed one day. They rang me and said there is always food left, perhaps she didn't want to eat what was there as it was a healthier menu.

"My son comes home and says regularly that there is no food or water left when he arrives. When looking on the parent pay it tells you what they have had and most days they have red crosses on or just water.

"My children have free school meals and I very much need the free school meals. I often find that I have to drop food off for them if they don't feel they can cope till home time.

“My son says there was just five pieces of pasta in his pasta pot that he ordered one day. When telling the school this they told me that it just wasn't possible that this is true.

“If it isn't enough for my children then I should give them packed lunch.I really need the free school meals as a single mum on Universal Credit.”

Parents said the lack of food at lunchtimes is having a detrimental impact on their child’s energy levels and work rate.

One parent said that their child relies on medication to maintain his weight levels and skipping meals could affect his health.

Another parent, who has seen the pictures, says they are worried about the food quality.

“The pictures I have seen of the dinners are disgusting and wouldn’t fill a baby never mind a teenager,” they said.

The parent added: “I'm extremely angry over this as my child is doing exams. I think it's important she eats.

"What about the children who don't get much at home and rely on the dinners?”

Wyvern Academy was rated ‘requires improvement’ by OFSTED at its last inspection in 2019, with a further probe due.

The school has defended their meals saying kids have plenty of fulfilling options to choose from.

They introduced a menu of reforms in the dining hall to make its school meals more balanced and reduce the reliance on sugary carbohydrates – in line with the Healthy Schools Agenda.

A statement added: “Wyvern Academy introduced changes to ensure students were offered a diverse choice of quality food, from breakfast club before school to mid-morning snacks and healthy lunches, all made on site from fresh produce."

Headteacher Owen Inglis said changes were introduced in line with research that saw a direct link between nutrition and brain function.

Inglis told The Northern Echo: "We have been seeking our community's views on the review via our student council, parent newsletter and from students generally, so we can adapt the menus for the best reasons.

"We want to improve health and wellbeing and dialogue is essential in that. We have continued to see positive feedback in these discussions and will continue to make changes which meet the needs of our students and fall in line with the national Healthy Schools Agenda."

The school says students are being offered a breakfast of fruit, cereal and toast before lessons.

Year 11s are reportedly offered a 'Mastery Breakfast' which consists of pain au chocolat and croissants.

The school also says during morning break kids can have toast, bacon sandwiches or sausage patties.

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At lunchtime kids can reportedly choose from baguettes, salads, roast pork or turkey with a side of vegetables and gravy.

There are also pasta and vegetarian options, the school says.

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