Parents' disgust over panini served to pupils at Hinde House school in Sheffield

People have voiced their disgust over a skimpily-filled panini served to schoolchildren in Sheffield, after an outraged mum shared a photo of the meal.

Friday, 28th January 2022, 11:49 am

The shocking image has also got people reminiscing about school dinners from days gone by.

Jackie Fothergill, whose son goes to Hinde House secondary school in Shiregreen, said he paid £1.80 for what supposed to be a ‘chicken and cheese’ panini, but a photograph taken of the meal shows barely any filling inside.

The picture, which shows a few slices of chicken and some cheese wedged between seemingly untoasted buns, was taken by her son and uploaded by her on social media, prompting more criticism of the school food from other parents.

School caterer Mellors has apologised over the state of a panini which was served to a pupil at Hinde House secondary school in Sheffield

The 34-year-old mum said she has filed a complaint with the school and the caterer, claiming it was not the first time she had voiced concerns.

She said: “It's just not acceptable for our children to be eating this kind of food. The portion is absolutely ridiculous and it costs £1.80.

“With the cost and everything is going up, that is not sufficient at all. And to pay that amount of money for a meal and that's all you're getting, that could be some child’s only meal of the day.

“If that's a child's only meal, the child's going to go hungry throughout the day.”

Bosses at Hinde House secondary school in Sheffield have apologised after this panini was served to one of its pupils

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‘Up the portion size or lower the food price’

She said after her complaint was made public, the school reached out to the catering supplier, Mellors, who then issued an apology.

But Jackie claims an apology is not enough.

She said: "The supplier said they would reimburse the parents, but I don't want reimbursement. I want this fixed because this is not the first time that this happened.

“We have been complaining to the school for a long time but nothing's been done.”

She said she and other parents have been asked to go to the school today for a 'secret shopping experience' to sample the food themselves, but this too, she said, would not solve the problem.

“I just feel like since they know I'm coming, they're going to do their best. I mean, this is not the first time...the children have had enough,” Jackie said.

“What they need to do now is to up the portion sizes to match the price of the food or lower the food price to match the portion control.”

Supplier to take an internal investigation

She said the school's principal Munif Zia has been supportive of the parents.

The school, in a statement, said: “We have been made aware that there are numerous concerns being circulated regarding the school's catering provision provided by Mellors.

“Please be assured we will be addressing all concerns with the contractors as a matter of urgency and will keep you all updated.”

Mellors director of operations Anne Kavanagh, in her letter of apology sent to Mr Zia, said: “I have been made aware of the complaint surrounding a panini purchased by one of your pupils.

“The quality standard represented by the photograph taken does not reflect the standards with which we operate.

“We are undertaking an internal investigation to find out what happened and to ensure that the usual high standard of food operation is adhered to.

“I would like to apologise for this incident but rest assured that we are reviewing our procedures to ensure a similar situation does not occur.”

Star readers have shared their thoughts about the panini and how it compares to the meals they got at school.

Sam Povey wrote: “When I was at school we had the best dinners and were all made in the school kitchen on site and from fresh! This needs bringing back to ensure kids have one good meal a day.”

Wendy Bramhall commented: “I was talking to my grandson this morning about school dinners. I mentioned to him we once had custard and it was green. And they expected us to eat it. Happy days. Not!”

Louise Shepley said: “This is not acceptable. When my son was at this school, they were always running out of food by the time he got to the front… would the person who served this give that to their own child? I bet they wouldn’t.”

And Kerry Allen commented: “I loved school dinners as a kid. In secondary school, I always opted for the “fill a box” salad bar or pasta king.

“Although I think the range of food is far better now, the portions are incredibly small, particularly for primary aged kids.”