Secondary school brings greater choice and complexity, especially in the canteen. Here’s how to work out the money side, and more…
From morning assembly to the occasional bell, primary school is remarkably structured. School lunches, for example, are pretty much fixed, and most kids more or less eat the same thing. That changes once children get to secondary school. There’s more choice, higher costs, and more opportunities for kids to spend money. Concerned about how it’s all going to go? Let us help!
Prices vary, and they’re usually set by the school, but you can expect to pay around £2-£3 for a full meal, and quite a bit less for a toasted sandwich or a panini.
How much lunch money do other parents give their children?
This varies too, and is, of course, decided on by each parent. Some just pay for the cost of lunch, while others give their children a bit extra. This extra money can cover breakfast at a breakfast club, or a snack during the morning break, or something they can grab on the way to school. It can also go towards after school food and drinks with friends. Again, amounts vary from just the cost of the daily meal (again, that’s around £2-£3), to closer to £5 a day for some children. So, expect to budget somewhere between £10 and £25 a week.
How healthy are school meals?
Today’s school meals may well be healthier than the ones you enjoyed. New school food standards mean many British schools must offer high-quality meat, poultry or oily fish in their meals, as well as fruit and vegetables, and bread, other cereals and potatoes. Also, they can’t offer drinks with added sugar, crisps, chocolate or sweets in school meals and vending machines; or more than 2 portions of deep-fried, battered or breaded food a week.
Nevertheless, kids still find a way to pack in empty calories. If you’re worried about the kind of food they’re eating, check the school’s menu to see if there are healthier options, and discuss choosing those with your child.
There are lots of ways. Some schools have a thumbprint recognition system, linked to an account that parents set up. Other schools offer their pupils a dedicated card-payment system. Some accept normal debit cards such as the Rooster Card! Our prepaid debit card lets parents set spending limits and receive notifications when their child buys something; they can’t spend more than what’s on the card, it works on public transport and it can be frozen any time via our app.