Uproar over school lunch 'segregation'

Thurrock Gazette: Gable Hall School in Corringham [Google Maps] Gable Hall School in Corringham [Google Maps]

ANGRY parents have started a campaign to stop a secondary school’s plans to change its pupils’ lunchtimes.

Gable Hall School is proposing lunch breaks are split in two – with one half of the school lunching half an hour before the other.

Dr Sophina Asong, the Corringham school’s headteacher, believes the idea would end canteen queues and enable pupils to sit and eat inside, whatever the weather.

The controversy has been caused by the proposal to divide the school up by house groups, rather than year groups.

This would mean youngsters, who have friends in the same year – but in other houses – would no longer lunch together.

Unhappy parents say the idea is making their children miserable, and already 450 people have signed a online petition against it.

Simon Tully, who started the campaign, said: “This is a stupid idea that shouldn’t even be trialled.

“If anything, the lunch break should just be returned to an hour and all groups lunch together.

Otherwise, you are causing segregation.”

One parent, commenting on the petition, said: “My daughter came home distraught at the thought she will be separated from her friends.

“This school is becoming more and more like a robotic institution whereby children’s individuality is taken away, their minds and personality controlled and friends dictated by the school.”

Another said: “I have an unhappy daughter, too.

“Her little group of lovely friends are all in different house groups, it’s not fair to split them up, they could end up alone.”

But Dr Asong disagreed and said students were unhappy with the current lunchtime system.

She said: “In order to improve our students’ lunchtime experience, we are consulting on a split lunch break.

“If adopted, the adjustments will end the lunchtime queues and enable all students to sit down to eat in a more relaxed atmosphere in wet or dry weather.

“The proposals are not intended to segregate children and we urge anyone who has concerns to feed into the consultation or contact the school directly – a meeting for parents is scheduled for June 24.”

Comments (6)

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7:54am Thu 19 Jun 14

Meherenow says...

It seems to me some people will complain about anything. In the 1960's when I was at Grammar school split lunch sit down times were the norm and pupils (we were called that in those days rather than students) rotated early/late sittings every week. In a school of 1500 children to have all pupils attending the same lunch times it would have been pandemonium.
It seems to me some people will complain about anything. In the 1960's when I was at Grammar school split lunch sit down times were the norm and pupils (we were called that in those days rather than students) rotated early/late sittings every week. In a school of 1500 children to have all pupils attending the same lunch times it would have been pandemonium. Meherenow
  • Score: 3

9:06am Thu 19 Jun 14

E.C.M. says...

“This school is becoming more and more like a robotic institution whereby children’s individuality is taken away, their minds and personality controlled and friends dictated by the school.”

Schools/Academies have absolutely nothing to do with 'education' today!

They are purely a business, generating 'qualifications'! These exam factories are deficient in fun and frivolity...perish the thought of enjoyment! Sadly, no longer are school days the best of your life!
“This school is becoming more and more like a robotic institution whereby children’s individuality is taken away, their minds and personality controlled and friends dictated by the school.” Schools/Academies have absolutely nothing to do with 'education' today! They are purely a business, generating 'qualifications'! These exam factories are deficient in fun and frivolity...perish the thought of enjoyment! Sadly, no longer are school days the best of your life! E.C.M.
  • Score: 7

2:07pm Thu 19 Jun 14

Paul_Grays says...

This is normal,,,,,and any large company has staggered lunchs so the canteen can cope.
This is normal,,,,,and any large company has staggered lunchs so the canteen can cope. Paul_Grays
  • Score: 6

2:14pm Fri 20 Jun 14

jb411 says...

mums are moaning because their little princes and princesses wont have anyone to meet up with at lunch if their friends are in different houses. How about meeting up after school? We had staggered sittings in the 60s and early 70s, never did us any harm.
mums are moaning because their little princes and princesses wont have anyone to meet up with at lunch if their friends are in different houses. How about meeting up after school? We had staggered sittings in the 60s and early 70s, never did us any harm. jb411
  • Score: 2

8:13pm Sun 22 Jun 14

truthjustice says...

The school is going to pot and no one is prepared to stand up and say how it is. The lunch Break is not just about the separation although this is part of the issue.by splitting the lunch into two sessions it will still only allow 1/2 hour per group this does not take into account the fact you have to get the first group of approx. 500 pupils back into class before the second lot can go. therefore both groups will still only have about 20-25 minutes which isn't enough. Also this doesn't take into account when the teachers or head hold the classes back or over run in assembly which happens a lot. All these people defending this, are you actually aware of what is happening within the school. The moral is at an all time low. Nearly all the original teaching staff have left because they can no longer tolerate the headmistresses attitude of its my way and nothing else.Teachers are not listened to and are now only on short term contracts.as in the heads own words everyone is replaceable. The canteen staff who disagree with the implementation of this and know it wont work cannot sign a petition against it as they are watch by her. Work experience is no longer available as in the heads words no one wants to work in Tesco's. Your child wont be going to prom unless they have 95% attendance gain 20 house points to do this you gain 5 points per 34 after school clubs you attend and must achieve your predicted grade or you don't get to go. Don't believe me ask the pupils who have left this year and are excluded. Year 10's won't be getting a sports day this year as the head has cancelled it saying they need to revise for exams. All the other years get there sports day. She is forcing teachers to just teach and push what will get exams results without a though for whether the children are actually learning. for example a certain language class hasn't had a teacher since Easter. They only have 4 weeks to prepare for a oral exam and the teacher said you don't need to know Spanish you just need to know enough to get you through the exam. Also making gcse pe pupils take rounder's and then saying your doing this because its easy and you can get a 10 for it. what is the point in having options when the head is dictating to the teachers what you are to do so the school looks fantastic. But at the detriment of the staff and pupils enough said
The school is going to pot and no one is prepared to stand up and say how it is. The lunch Break is not just about the separation although this is part of the issue.by splitting the lunch into two sessions it will still only allow 1/2 hour per group this does not take into account the fact you have to get the first group of approx. 500 pupils back into class before the second lot can go. therefore both groups will still only have about 20-25 minutes which isn't enough. Also this doesn't take into account when the teachers or head hold the classes back or over run in assembly which happens a lot. All these people defending this, are you actually aware of what is happening within the school. The moral is at an all time low. Nearly all the original teaching staff have left because they can no longer tolerate the headmistresses attitude of its my way and nothing else.Teachers are not listened to and are now only on short term contracts.as in the heads own words everyone is replaceable. The canteen staff who disagree with the implementation of this and know it wont work cannot sign a petition against it as they are watch by her. Work experience is no longer available as in the heads words no one wants to work in Tesco's. Your child wont be going to prom unless they have 95% attendance gain 20 house points to do this you gain 5 points per 34 after school clubs you attend and must achieve your predicted grade or you don't get to go. Don't believe me ask the pupils who have left this year and are excluded. Year 10's won't be getting a sports day this year as the head has cancelled it saying they need to revise for exams. All the other years get there sports day. She is forcing teachers to just teach and push what will get exams results without a though for whether the children are actually learning. for example a certain language class hasn't had a teacher since Easter. They only have 4 weeks to prepare for a oral exam and the teacher said you don't need to know Spanish you just need to know enough to get you through the exam. Also making gcse pe pupils take rounder's and then saying your doing this because its easy and you can get a 10 for it. what is the point in having options when the head is dictating to the teachers what you are to do so the school looks fantastic. But at the detriment of the staff and pupils enough said truthjustice
  • Score: 1

9:25pm Sun 22 Jun 14

E.C.M. says...

A Headteacher’s job is just like a Premiership League football manager’s today…and in terms of employment security, equally precarious!

Alas, Schools have nothing to do with ‘education’ anymore! They are simply involved in a results business that ultimately, determines the league table position.

It’s not how the game is played (bland teaching to the test will do), as long as you win and secure points (‘qualifications
not ‘education’).

Arguably, Dr Asong, could be compared to David Moyes at Manchester Utd. She has the right credentials, but just doesn’t fit in, suit the place and won’t be accepted by the ‘supporters’!

They both had hard acts to follow (John King OBE – Sir Alex Ferguson)! But ultimately, I predict both to suffer the same fate and leave for a different ‘club’!
A Headteacher’s job is just like a Premiership League football manager’s today…and in terms of employment security, equally precarious! Alas, Schools have nothing to do with ‘education’ anymore! They are simply involved in a results business that ultimately, determines the league table position. It’s not how the game is played (bland teaching to the test will do), as long as you win and secure points (‘qualifications not ‘education’). Arguably, Dr Asong, could be compared to David Moyes at Manchester Utd. She has the right credentials, but just doesn’t fit in, suit the place and won’t be accepted by the ‘supporters’! They both had hard acts to follow (John King OBE – Sir Alex Ferguson)! But ultimately, I predict both to suffer the same fate and leave for a different ‘club’! E.C.M.
  • Score: 0

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