PARENTS in Burton are to be forced to pay up front for school meals - or see their children lose the privilege.
Schools which receive meals from Entrust, a joint venture between Staffordshire County Council and Capita, have been told they need to collect payments in advance.
St Modwen’s Catholic Primary School, in Horninglow, is among shcools to have formulated its plans.
It has informed parents they will have to pay a lump sum at the beginning of each half-term period to ensure their child has a meal every day.
For parents who don’t pay, it will mean their child won’t be able to a receive meals for the duration of the half-term.
Parents have also been told that any child who is not eligible for the service and arrives at school without lunch will not be provided with a meal.
The measure will force parents to choose between school meals and packed lunches and take away the option of flittering between the two.
Those wanting their child to receive a meal from the school every day will be required to stump up £73.50 by November 4.
A parent of a child at the school, who asked not to be named, reacted angrily to the plans.
He said: “It’s not the money as such, it’s the way it is being imposed – ‘pay £73 in advance or forget it’.
“A lot of parents are saying they are just going to give their children packed lunches. This is certainly not going to encourage the take up of school meals.
“Because of the way they have tried to introduce and dictate this policy I am not, out of principle, going to pay for school meals. I suspect a number of parents will be thinking along similar lines.”
A spokesman for Entrust said: “Entrust is currently working with schools to ensure that dinners provid are paid for on the day or in advance.
“How schools decide to collect payment from parents, whether that is daily, weekly, monthly, or by term, for example, is at their individual discretion.”