Teachers' union claims school meal portions are getting smaller
School children are apparently going hungry because school meals are getting smaller.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers reckons teachers are concerned about the size of the dinners kids are getting, as well as the quality and choice available.
A survey of 503 teachers revealed that many schools are also charging more for meals, with some school dinner costs rising by £100 a year.
The annual ATL conference in Manchester also heard that a third of teachers have seen a rise in the number of children on free school meals, blaming the economic downturn and rising unemployment.
Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL said that it was important that school meals were of good quality and size:
"Teachers are raising issues about the quantity of the food that children get, about the choice and the quality. Some teachers are saying that children don't get enough food. I think it's absolutely the case that children are going hungry and we all know what hunger does to young people's ability to learn."
She called for catering services to come under more scrutiny to ensure school dinners were of an adequate standard and portion size.
One teacher, employed in early years education, agreed with the survey's findings saying that young children in particular often get 'very small portions and very limited choice'. She added that those who bring in packed lunches 'eat a lot more at lunchtime'.
A School Food Trust spokesman told the BBC: "School meals need to be affordable for families. Our research proves that school food is particularly sensitive to changes in price and in these tough financial times, access to decent food at school for children has never been so important. Schools need support to build their market, run their catering efficiently and to deal with rising costs.
"Every child's appetite is different so portion sizes aren't set nationally - but cooks do get to know their pupils, and should make sure they are getting a portion that's appropriate for them."
What do you think?
Do your children ever complain about the size of their school dinners?