Dorset

Cash-strapped Bournemouth school scraps hot meals

School dinners
Image caption Stourfield Junior School's head teacher said funding pressures meant the school could no longer afford to provide hot school meals

A head teacher has told parents her school can no longer afford to provide a hot school meals service because of budgetary pressures.

Emma Rawson, headteacher at Stourfield Junior School in Southbourne, said funding pressures meant the school could no longer afford the staffing costs of more than £20,000 per year.

She said she was "frustrated" because some pupils relied on those hot meals.

The Department for Education requires all schools to serve hot or cold meals.

The school said it would provide cold packed lunches for those children eligible for free school meals. All other pupils would be required to bring their own food to school.

Image caption Emma Rawson said her school was facing "significant cuts"

Miss Rawson, who is also chair of Bournemouth Primary Heads, said: "I've always been an advocate for hot school meals as I believe they are really important - for some children it's the only hot meal they get all day," she said.

'Significant cuts'

"But the bottom line is we can't afford to run the service this year."

She said the academy school was facing "significant cuts".

"Schools really don't have enough money coming in, so we're increasingly dependant on fundraising from parents," she added.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "All schools must meet the school food standards which make clear they should be serving children healthy, nutritious meals, whether hot or cold."

He said school funding was set to rise to "a record" £43.5bn by 2020, meaning funding per pupil would be 50% higher than it was in 2000 and more than 70% higher than in 1990.

"However we recognise that we are asking schools to do more which is why the Education Secretary has set out his determination to work with the sector to bear down on cost pressures and help them make the best use of their resources," he added.

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