Children forced to eat lunch with hands as primary school bans cutlery
10 December 2020, 12:33
The school got rid of cutlery as they believed it posed a COVID safety risk.
Parents of students at Edgar Stammers Primary Academy in Walsall were left shocked when they found out their children were being forced to eat mash potato with their hands.
This comes after the school decided to take away cutlery in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.
On one occasion, the children had to use their hands to eat mash potato placed into a Yorkshire pudding.
To cut down the risk of spreading COVID in the school, staff decided to offer a "reduced" menu to the children, made up of "finger food".
They also organised lunches to be delivered to each classroom in order to stop classes being exposed to other bubbles.
The headteacher at the Edgar Stammers Primary Academy, Darren Mann, told parents feedback was "not positive" and that they would be asking for cutlery to return "as soon as possible".
Mr Mann said: "As parents know, we have been trying to increase the amount of hot food in the menu, but with the restriction of it being classed as finger food.
"Today, as part of the lunch, we had a small amount of mash that was served in a Yorkshire pudding to enable the children to pick it up and eat together.
“Unfortunately, the feedback from this from some parents and children has not been positive."
He went on: "We will look to adapt the menu again to try and make it better and easier for the children.
"I have also informed our academy trust of our desire to start using cutlery as soon as possible.
"As soon as it is deemed safe under their Covid restrictions, we will let all parents and children know."
CEO of the Academy Trust, Professor Michelle Shaw, said that hot food and utensils "could not be transported around schools safely".
She explained that the use of "hard utensils which may spread the virus" had been limited, while children are made to wash their hands before and after meal times.
Professor Shaw said: "Arrangements at lunchtimes are in place to ensure that children do not mix with children from other bubbles, meaning that children are having their food bought to them in their areas of the school buildings instead of using school dining halls.
"To ensure that this is done as safely as possible, hot meals are provided in a 'grab bag' style packaging."
She went on: "Our schools have increased hygiene measure throughout the day and pupils wash their hands before and after meals.
"We have ensured that we keep our children safe by limiting the use of hard utensils which may spread the virus, and continue to monitor the situation following all available guidance.
"We cannot transport plates, hot food and utensils around schools safely, as some have steps, nor can we keep that food at the required temperatures to serve it.
"Therefore we have chosen to provide brown bag, picnic lunches in classrooms. These consist if health choices, devised by our caterers.
"We have risk assessed all of our Covid practices using an external health and safety specialist company and our practices are robust".