School offering kids jacket spud with side of MASH – as parents slam 'diet of potatoes' after lunch menu cuts

PARENTS have slammed a school for cutting back its lunch menu as they say it has left their kids "existing on a diet of potatoes cooked in different ways".

Catering workers at Richmond Primary School in Hinckley, Leicestershire, say they have been forced to drastically slash their canteen offerings because Covid infections have seen staff numbers dip.

But despite warning parents of the temporary change, some have complained that the menu is dominated by potatoes – with kids able to order a baked spud with side of mash on one day.

The simplified menu was introduced on Monday as the school says its staffing situation "worsened after Christmas"with higher levels of sickness, reports LeicestershireLive.

"We have robust contingency plans in place to deal with staff shortages and these plans involve a simplified menu which can be delivered with fewer staff," a letter to parents from the catering manage read.

"A simplified menu will ensure we can continue to support the seamless delivery of good quality, hot, healthy school meals at your school every day."

Parents have hit back at the change, however – moaning their kids have been left constantly eating potatoes.

"It's gone from being a varied, fairly interesting menu to being pretty much constant potatoes," one parent told the outlet.

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"On one day, one of the menu options is a jacket potato with chicken mayonnaise that you can have with a side of jacket potato.

"On other days, you can order a jacket potato with jacket wedges, creamy mashed potatoes, chips, minted potatoes and parsley potatoes.

"I understand that everyone is dealing with staff shortages, but why does that mean that our kids now have to exist on a diet of potatoes cooked in different ways?

"It's especially tough for vegetarian or vegan kids. I'm assuming most will resort to a packed lunch, unless they really love potatoes."

The menu offers kids two different options for a main meal each day – one of which is a jacket potato with a different filling.

Other choices include meatballs in tomato sauce, pizza and fish fingers – with sides such as jacket wedges, mash potato, chips and rice.

'TEMPORARY MEASURE'

Leicestershire County Council has defended the school as it reminded parents the decision was "not taken lightly" and stressed it is a "temporary measure" that will be regularly reviewed.

"It (the menu) has been carefully developed with dietitians to ensure healthy, nutritious hot meals continue to be served daily," a spokesperson said.

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“We would like to stress that this a temporary measure to ensure business continuity, and the intention of the service is regularly review the situation to reinstate the full choice menu as soon as is possible.

“The revised menu continues to provide choice and value for money while meeting government food standards, and it has been carefully pulled together taking into account both cultural and dietary requirements.

“School food service staff are working extremely hard in very challenging circumstances and the measures that are being put in place will support the wellbeing of staff and the continued delivery of a high standard service.”

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