'Grim and inedible' meals provided to Exeter school pupils

A portion of chicken and nachos provided to Exeter schoolchildren.

An apology has been issued after ‘grim and absolutely inedible’ school meals were provided to pupils at school in Exeter.

Concerned parents and carers in Exwick and St Thomas contacted their local councillor Rob Hannaford after their children showed them pictures of the school meals they had been offered.

The pictures, which were shared in the council meeting, show what looks like a pot with two chicken wings in it and a separate pot with what looks like some nachos with a white sauce over them.

One parent whose children go to West Exe School said they ‘wouldn’t even serve this to a dog let alone a child’, with them adding it was a ‘complete insult to children’.

In the letter she described the meals as "horrendous" and "absolutely inedible", adding: "I want my child to be offered nutritional food and food that look appetising and edible. As you can see from the photos I have provided these are neither of those things.

“I appreciate they have to stick to a budget however this is unacceptable and in my opinion a complete insult to our children. They shouldn’t have to suffer as a consequence of the supply change.”

In response, Cllr McInnes said: “School governing bodies and academy trusts are responsible for the provision of school meals and it is for them to choose their catering provider and ensure that the lunches, and other food or drink served, meets the standards for school food in England.

"We will only discuss the issue with the school if there seems to be a wider concern regarding quality or provision.

“It should however be noted that a large number of Devon schools are contracted with Devon Norse to provide their school meals. As Devon Norse is Joint Venture with Devon County Council, we have more control over the meals provided and pick up any concerns at monthly management meetings.”

On the West Exe School issue, he said the contract for catering changed to a new provider on April 1 adding: "It is understood that food served, in a school, on one of the days in the first week of delivery did not meet the new providers, the school’s or parental expectations and a complaint was received.

“The provider has apologised to the school concerned and has put a plan together which includes further training in regard to quality and portion control. The schools working with the new provider will continue to monitor the standard of meals provided.”

When contacted by ITV News West Country, the school issued a statement which said: "We were disappointed that, on this occasion, the quality of the meals supplied for our students and staff fell short of the standard we expect from our supplier.

"We take the health and wellbeing of our students, and the provision of nutritious meals, extremely seriously and will be working closely with our catering supplier to ensure there will not be a repetition of this incident in the future."

Credit: Daniel Clark, Local Democracy Reporter

Read more: