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Birkenhead school's meal threat angers parents

School meals Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Devonshire Park Primary said it had been forced to take action as it was owed more than £1,000

Parents have reacted angrily to a letter sent by a school threatening to withhold hot meals from children if dinner money arrears are not paid.

Devonshire Park Primary in Merseyside said it was owed more than £1,000 in outstanding lunch fees and told parents it was ready to take action.

The letter said children would be given toast or a bread roll instead.

It said its policy was consistent with other schools and it would never let a child go hungry.

The move has been described as "disgusting" by one disgruntled parent.

The Birkenhead school said it would be "irresponsible to let parents build up more and more debt".

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Toast will be offered to children whose parents owe money

The school said the policy would only be enforced when parents have a negative balance of more than £10.

They would first be asked to provide a packed lunch for their child, but failing that, toast or a bread roll would be provided.

A spokesman said its policy was no different to any other school and it would never let a child go hungry, although this would not necessarily involve a hot meal.

One parent, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "My friend works as a single mum but struggles financially.

"I'm guessing there will be plenty of parents in the same situation who have received the letter."

The school spokesman said: "The school fully understands the financial difficulties that some parents face and we always ask them to contact the office to discuss any issues so we can do everything we can to help.

"Often their circumstances may mean they are entitled to claim free school meals, but they haven't been aware of it until we have spoken to them."

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