It has been brought to our attention some concerns about the lunch provision and following a meeting between the school and Caterlink, our catering providers, we would like to issue this response:
Caterlink thank you for raising awareness of some initial teething problems at the beginning of this term which have stemmed from changes in Caterlink staffing, new year 7 adjusting to the new systems and a staggered year group rotate due to the current COVID regulations. We hope that we have ironed out many of your concerns today and moving forward there should be an improved provision and service.
With regards to the current food offer this has been reduced due to the shortened access each year group has in the canteen and the large volume of students that need to progress through the dining hall. However, now we have been able to accurately gauge the number of students purchasing food we have increased this further.
Each day the following options will be available: a hot meal (e.g. spaghetti bolognaise and garlic bread (veggie and meat versions)), filled jacket potatoes, hot paninis or wraps, a wide range of sandwiches and additional options such as fresh fruit, fruit pots, homebakes and a range of drinks. A daily meal deal is available for £2.14 with a choice of hot main course or sandwich, a snack (fruit or homebake) and small carton of juice or small bottle of water.
Please also be advised that the system for lunches is very different to primary experiences. Students select food independently and the servers cannot advise on food choices. For example, last week where some food options had been pre-selected by Year 7 but were not available as a result of pupils changing their mind and selecting something else from the self service stations. Parents are asked to check the Parent Pay website regularly to see what their child is opting and discuss food choices for a varied and balanced diet.
Caterlink have taken on board concerns about the quality of bread in the sandwiches. Whilst quality named brands such as Hovis are used they will look into alternatives immediately.
Concerns have been raised about the cost of fruit pots. A range of fruit options are available at varying costs such as fresh fruit such as oranges and apples at 25p or a choice of fruit pots at two sizes small at 40p and large at 80p. Pupils are only charged for the size of fruit they have selected.
Food offers such as bagels, waffles and other similar breakfast items are not available at this time or until further notice. This is to encourage students to opt for a more suitable lunch option rather than a ‘snack’.
Students are reminded that the current water stations are not available at this time. They should bring a full bottle or purchase a drink from the canteen. For Year 7s these were included in their lunch bags on Thursday however many did not use their bottles and there was a significant amount of plastic waste. These bottles also could not be resold if unused due to health and safety. On Friday to reduce the waste and due to the hot meal which was not served in a bag the drinks were available on the side but students did not all opt to have these.
Time in the dining hall is currently restricted to a specific time slot for each year group to ensure year group bubbles remain separate and allow for a thorough cleaning between sittings. However, the duty staff are responding flexibly to any students who need a little further time to eat their lunch comfortably. However, we would like to reinforce previous messages that have been sent home that students may wish to bring a small snack and drink for the break period in which their year group does not have access to the canteen.
Parents are advised that they can set an alert on the Parent Pay website when the funds become low so they can be topped up. There currently is no daily limit but should parents wish to do so please email your child's Pastoral Head of Year. Students are not currently able to top up their accounts using the revaluation machines and cash so please do not send this in at this time.
We thank you for your understanding at this time.
Caterlink and The Kingsway School