Parents blast school for using ‘child labour’ to serve meals

Should children serve up school dinners to their fellow classmates?
Should children serve up school dinners to their fellow classmates?
  • School accused of ‘child labour’
  • Scheme said to improve social skills
  • Headteacher says children enjoy serving fellow pupils
  • One parent says: “Kids do not have food hygiene training”

Angry parents have blasted a school for using ‘child labour’ to serve lunch time meals - but a headteacher has hit back saying it teaches youngsters important life and social skills.

An online post sparked a debate between parents about whether children serving food to fellow pupils at Derbyshire schools at lunchtimes is a wise idea.

Some schools across the county use a ‘family dining’ service at lunchtimes, with youngsters serving up meals for their classmates.

The idea is to help children ‘improve social skills and eat together at a table’, which is becoming ever more difficult for families at home.

The ‘family dining’ service is not run by Derbyshire County Council.

An email sent to the Derbyshire Times detailing a Facebook post by one parent said: “Hates that my girl comes home from school unhappy she shouldn’t have to go to school and feel unhappy!...letting children serve other children school meals is it me or is that wrong ?!

“As one parent says ‘child labour’ springs to mind!”

A number of other parents commented on the post, also raising concerns.

One parent wrote: “I don’t think it’s fair. Kids don’t know how to portion food they are making them grow up far too fast. She keeps asking for sandwiches and I’m very tempted to let her.”

Another posted: “Apparently the older kids give the younger ones less so they can have seconds.”

Another wrote: “She was same hardly getting anything and said older kids were being nasty saying she couldn’t have anymore. When I said something nothing was done it’s a joke tbh.”

Another posted: “Kids often have all sorts of bugs and germs which they could spread via the food! Kids also don’t have food hygiene training which I’m assuming is needed to serve food?”

The Derbyshire Times contacted Brimington Junior School, which was named in the post.

Headteacher Nick Newberry said: “The children really enjoy the family dining experience we operate at lunchtimes which means each week a different child from each table of eight serves dinner to their friends.

“We feel this teaches the children important life and social skills and encourages people to sit and eat together as a family at home and they get a lot out of if.”

*What do you think? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk