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Options for hot meals - graduated return

Great news for parents and children!


You will be aware that owing to the restrictions and guidance for Covid 19 we have been unable to provide hot meals for all children since the return in September.  Whilst all Free School Meals children have received entitlement, those children in Key Stage 2 have not had the option for hot meals owing to the fact that we have had to establish two dining areas.  With only one kitchen and with restrictions on establishing and maintaining Covid bubbles, we have not been able to provide as we have previously and wished.


The good news is that as of 16th November we will be in a position to re-establish the provision of hot meals for children in Key Stage 2.



1 - This will be a phased process starting with free school meal entitlement.  

2 - Cash payment will cease for those paying for meals and be replaced with an electronic payment system*.

3 – Historical dinner debts will need to be paid in order to access future hot meals


What is changing?

Meals will continue to be served in the dining hall for Early Years and Key Stage 1 children; likewise, Key Stage 2 children will continue to dine in the assembly hall.  This is important as it is needed to reduce risk of breaking Covid bubbles.   However, we will be placing two hot plate units to the rear of the assembly hall and providing more staff to serve.  Meals will be prepared in the kitchen and then transferred to hot plates in the assembly hall for Key Stage 2 children.


Will hot meals be provided for all?

Eventually yes; however, we will only be able to provide hot lunches for free school meal children initially; this will commence the week of November 16th.  


There are two reasons for this:


  • Trialling systems to ensure practice is effective and time compliant (we have 300 children to put through the system in just over 1 hour)
  • Policy change for collection of dinner monies*.


We aim to be providing paid hot meals for all Key Stage 2 children by or during December.


*What is the policy change for dinner monies?

From this point onwards, like most other schools, there will be a cashless system for school dinners and trips.  This will be provided through a system called ‘Scopay’; information on how this will work will be shared with parents at a later date.  It is important that parents understand that the previous practice of paying for school meals and trips via cash payments has ended.


Please keep an eye out for details on how you will access and pay for meals using Scopay.  This will provide you with an access letter and code as well as guidance on use.



Is there anything else I should know?

  • If you are opting to pay for hot school meals, you will be required to give at least two weeks notice to change to packed lunches.  This is a result of Chartwells having to order food in advance.  Remember, our meals are cooked on site and from fresh ingredients, all of which need to be pre ordered.
  • This is an in or out system.  There will be no option to have hot meals on some days and packed lunches on others.  If a child is recorded as having hot school meals, but does not take it, you will still be charged for that meal.  
  • If you already have a school dinner debt you will be required to pay this off before accessing the hot meals option.  The school cannot run a debt-based meal provision.  Each year, parents not paying for school dinners costs the school in the range of £1000 - £1500.  This is money taken away from resources for children.
  • You do not need to do anything to get a hot meal if your child is entitled to a free school meal.   Your child will simply have to indicate if they are having packed lunches or dinners on 16th November.


Note:  Children having hot dinners or packed lunches will dine in the groups they have been in since the return in September.  This will continue until we are advised that restrictions are being relaxed or lifted.