Lack of school meal choice appears to be leaving a sour taste in the mouths of some parents.
Trossachs and Teith Tory councillor Martin Earl told a recent meeting of Stirling Councils children and young people committee that he had received a number of complaints about the restricted options being served to youngsters in primary schools and nurseries.
While a restricted menu was introduced last year because of many children being unable to access canteens and dining halls safely during the Covid pandemic, there has been some easing of the coronavirus restrictions.
Burgers and rolls appear to be among the mainstays of the current menu being regularly being served up to youngsters in schools and nurseries.
However the menu which should have been introduced by now also features dishes such as macaroni cheese, spaghetti bolognese, roast chicken and chicken korma among a host of other choices.
Restrictions have also made preparation more challenging for facilities team preparing the meals.
However, officials told the meeting that until all establishments were able to operate as normally as possible, the streamlined menu would remain until at least the end of term.
They said they hoped the more extensive menu could be introduced in August at the start of the new term and that normal service could resume for all schools and nurseries at that time.
Councillor Earl said: I have received a growing number of concerns from parents about the current menu thats available, which is limited.
Theres a roll and link sausage, pizza, beefburgers, fillet of fish, vegetarian burger roll or a panini and thats repeated over a three- week cycle.
I understand there has been a restricted menu because meals are still being served in classrooms and there is limited availability for facilities management through canteens but I have had some contact with several other local authorities including Moray, Borders, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire, who are all doing a full menu in canteens and have been for a while.
Early years and early intervention service manager Judy Edwards said: The menu was reduced because it wasnt possible for children to eat in the dining room in all schools because of space restrictions.
As restrictions have eased schools have been able to have children safely back into dining rooms but this has been happening gradually with a view to normal service resuming in August.
Some children are still eating in classrooms in schools as safe practice.
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Interim head of education Bryony Monaghan added: This is to do with our current risk assessment around Covid. It is very specific by school and by local authority.
There have been discussions in recent weeks and months. This is a gradual process in the context of specific schools and we can move gradually towards changing it. We are not able to make a wholesale change at this stage but are having to look at the whole context of where we still have positive cases in certain areas and where the whole context in the school wouldnt allow us to move in that direction with confidence.
Councillor Earl said: It would seem you are saying we still have to go with the restricted menu until such times as everybody can get to their normal capacity.
He added: A lot of parents are saying they are not happy with the menu and I can understand it given how restricted it has to be at the moment.
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Parents unhappy with streamlined meal options in Stirling schools and nurseries - Daily Record