Cash for Mash!
Vacant school dinners send headteachers scrambling for the sprouts
Hundreds of thousands of surplus school dinners are being snapped up by cash-strapped headteachers keen to cash in on the government’s new Pupil Premium. The school dinners, which were being stored in a warehouse near Gatwick, and which were expected to have been axed altogether in October’s budget review, have more than quadrupled in value since the government announced the new measure last week. The Pupil Premium, dubbed ‘cash for mash’ because it is expected to be based on the number of free school meals, has started what one leading commentator is calling ‘the biggest food-fight since the Vikings’. He added: ‘The rush to bag the spare school dinners is outstripping even the expected rush to secure underprivileged children.’
It’s believed that the school meals, which are mostly lamb roast dinners and pasta bake, will be offered to pupils for free - whether they are hungry or not - in a desperate bid to secure the extra government funding. Rob Hastings, headteacher of Willington School in Shropshire bought up 130,000 of the estimated 480,000 surplus meals: ‘Every pupil in my school will be expected to eat at least five of my free school meals, regardless of their socal background. We are always struggling to afford things that flash, blink and go ‘whirr’, the extra money will be very important to us. The cash-for-mash-for-kids scheme is an excellent idea.’