Once children get to secondary school there’s greater choice, complexity, and more opportunities to spend money, especially in the canteen. This article tells you everything you need to know about school lunches so you can decide on the right amount of lunch money for your child.
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?
Some parents pay for the cost of lunch, while others give their children a bit extra. This extra money can cover breakfast at a breakfast club, a snack during break time, or something their child can grab on the way home from school. Amounts can vary from just the cost of the daily meal (around £2-£3), to closer to £5 a day for some children, so, expect to budget somewhere between £10-£25 a week. (GoodTo, 2023)
How healthy are school meals?
Today’s school meals may well be healthier than the ones you enjoyed as a child. New school food standards mean British schools must offer high-quality meats anda range offruit and vegetables with every meal.. Also schools are banned from offering sugary drinks, crisps, chocolates and sweets in the canteen or at vending machines around school.
This should give you the peace of mind that your children’s lunch money is going towards a nutritious meal. You can always check the school’s menu to see the meals provided, and discuss choosing healthy options with your child.
What about packed lunches?
Plenty of school kids also take packed lunches, which might give you greater control over lunchtime spending and nutrition. The NHS even publishes a guide to healthier lunch boxes with a range of quick and easy options to keep you covered. Tired of making those lunch boxes yourself? You could set this as a chore for your kids*.
How do I pay for school meals?
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,which accepts normal debit cards such as the Rooster Card**. Our prepaid debit card can help parents to manage weekly lunch money budgets by setting spending limits and receiving notifications when their child buys something.
Give the Rooster Card a go – you can sign up for a free month here.***