Parents unhappy with streamlined meal options at Stirling schools and nurseries

The lack of choice of school meals seems to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of some parents.

Trossachs and Teith Tory councilor Martin Earl said at a recent meeting of the Stirling Council Children and Youth Committee that he had received a number of complaints about the limited options available to young people in schools primary and nursery schools.

While a restricted menu was introduced last year due to the inability of many children to access canteens and mess halls safely during the Covid pandemic, there has been some relaxation of restrictions on coronaviruses.

Burgers and rolls seem to be among the mainstays of the current menu regularly served to young people in schools and nurseries.

However, the menu that should have been introduced by now also features dishes like macaroni and cheese, spaghetti bolognese, roast chicken, and chicken korma among a host of other choices.

The restrictions also made preparation more difficult for the facilities team preparing the meals.

However, officials told the meeting that until all establishments can operate as normally as possible, the simplified menu will remain at least until the end of the quarter.

They said they hoped the more comprehensive menu could be introduced in August at the start of the new mandate and normal service could resume for all schools and nurseries at that time.

Councilor Earl said: “I have received a growing number of concerns from parents about the current menu available, which is limited.

“There’s a roll-tied sausage, pizza, beef burgers, fish fillet, veggie burger roll or panini and it repeats on a three week cycle.

“I understand that there has been a restricted menu as meals are always served in classrooms and the availability of facilities for facility management through canteens is limited, but I have had contact with several other authorities locals including Moray, Borders, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire, all of which have a full menu in the canteens and have been doing so for some time.

Judy Edwards, Director of Early Years and Early Intervention, said: “The menu was reduced as it was not possible for children to eat in the dining halls of all schools due to the space restrictions.

“As restrictions eased, schools were able to return children safely to dining rooms, but this happened gradually in preparation for the resumption of normal service in August.

“Some children still eat in school classrooms for safety reasons. “

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Acting Education Director Bryony Monaghan added: “It has to do with our current risk assessment around Covid. It is very specific by school and by local authority.

“There have been discussions in recent weeks and months. It is a gradual process in the context of specific schools and we can gradually move towards change. We are not in a position to effect a fundamental change at this stage, but we must look at the whole context where we still have positive cases in certain areas and where the whole school context would not allow us. not to go in that direction with confidence. “

Councilor Earl said: “Looks like you are saying we always have to use the restricted menu until everyone can reach their normal capacity.”

He added: “A lot of parents say they are not happy with the menu and I can understand that given how tight it must be at the moment.”

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