A school that opened its doors for the first time this week has been blasted for only serving vegetarian meals at lunch time and banning other food from home.
The Swan School in Summertown, Oxford, has been criticised by one parent who said her daughter was ‘left hungry’ after her first days.
Options on the menu include lentil lasagne, minted pea and feta frittata and Quorn sausage and potato bake.
There are a few meat and fish options available for snacks at break time, but during lunch the canteen is strictly vegetarian.
The mother who complained said: ‘I’ve heard that a lot of children were very hungry as well – there should be option at dinner time [to] eat meat. I’ve never known a school to be like this.’
The Swan School opened to its first cohort of about 100 pupils on Monday and will teach 1,260 pupils when it is full.
Headteacher Kay Wood said: ‘We have chosen to serve vegetarian meals at lunchtimes for three main reasons.Baby beats cancer after mum donates part of her liver
‘Firstly, it allows us to serve better quality meals for the same money. Secondly, there are huge environmental and sustainability benefits.
‘Most importantly, it allows students of all faiths and different dietary requirements to eat together.’
She also stressed the decision to provide vegetarian meals isn’t a judgement of those who do eat meat.
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Ms Wood added: ‘Packed lunches are not banned because the students might bring in meat – we don’t allow them because we want all the children and staff to eat together and engage at lunchtime.
‘Everyone is working really hard to make sure the food is delicious and nutritious.
‘It goes without saying that we are committed to making sure students are not hungry – we offer free breakfast every day for all students.’
Pupils can get free porridge in the morning and can buy healthy snacks at break time, but they are not allowed to bring in any other food.
Opposing academic research has been published recently about the health impact of vegan and vegetarian diets.
However, prominent environmental campaigners and even celebrity chef Jamie Oliver have praised schools for shunning meat.