Headmaster informs parents that pupils won’t get fed at school if they have more than one penny of debt in their meals accounts.

  • Head of school in Wales set deadlines for clearing student’s debts
  • If children owe just £0.01 the school cook will refuse to provide them with food
  • Neil Foden made the decision due to ‘handful of pupils’ who owe over £1,800
  • Parents have voiced widespread disapproval at the letter.

According to the school’s headmaster, pupils won’t be allowed to eat at school if there is more than a penny of debt in their accounts.

Neil Foden is the strategic head for Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle (Wales). He issued the ultimatum via a letter to his parents Wednesday.

This warning has caused anger among parents and has led to the school chef being instructed to refuse food to students if the debt is not cleared or to those children in the future whose finances are not sufficient to cover lunch.

The school in Penygroes, Gwynedd, has set a deadline of November 19 for parents to ensure their children’s accounts are up to date.

Neil Foden, the strategic head of Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in Penygroes, Gwynedd, said a handful of pupils had run up debts totalling more than £1,800

Neil Foden, the strategic head of Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in Penygroes, Gwynedd, said a handful of pupils had run up debts totalling more than £1,800

The letter issued to parents at the school on Wednesday, in which the headmaster apologises for taking the steps

On Wednesday, the school sent parents a letter in which the headmaster apologized for his actions.

This is due to a shortfall in school meals budgets at the end last half-term.

Mr Foden said: ‘Closer inspection revealed that this was because a handful of pupils had run up debts totalling more than £1,800. This means I had to follow the steps below. 

‘All debts over £10 will be transferred to the authority and parents will be invoiced by the council.

‘All debts of over £0.01 will receive a message from the school to clear debts and credit the system by Friday, November 19.’

It also contains details about what steps are taken to refuse to serve the children of the school which is home to approximately 450 students aged 11-18. 

Foden apologized for his approach but said that the “scale of the default” means something has to be done.

This email was shared across social media, and it has drawn widespread criticism.

Darren Owen stated that the statement was “absolutely shocking.” What the hell’s wrong with system, the child might not know mam and dad are struggling to pay, it might be the only food that child eats that day.’

Another parent said: ‘If they would actually let you pay your £1.60 bill without having to pay a min payment of £10, would be a help. Really!

Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in north Wales (pictured) has been criticised for taking the stance that could see children refused food

Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle (pictured in north Wales) was criticised for his stance which could result in children not being allowed to eat.

A third added that, while parents accept bills need to be paid, ‘imagine a child getting his food then being told you’re not eating today sorry, then having to leave’.

Carolyn Roberts, who lives in Caernarfon, said: ‘I would suggest that the head himself tells the kids they can’t eat, don’t put that on the kitchen staff!

‘We’ve gone from giving children free breakfasts to this. This is a terrible idea!

Gwynedd Council was asked to provide comments.  

This letter is sent by the headmaster days after Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the University, rejected Marcus Rashford’s plea for an extension to the free school meals program during school holidays.

According to the Chancellor, furlough was over and it was time for a return back to “a more normal way of doing everything”.