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Dad-of-four offers to clear school’s entire dinner debt ‘so kids don’t go hungry’

Simon Harris, from Essex, tweeted Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in Penygroes, Gwynedd, Wales, asking to pay the £1,800 that is owed in order to stop the “madness of kids potentially going hungry”

Man Behaving Dadly's Simon Harris wants to pay the £1,800 owed by parents at the school
Man Behaving Dadly’s Simon Harris wants to pay the £1,800 owed by parents at the school

A dad-of-four has offered to pay any outstanding debts at a school after parents were told that children would not be fed unless their accounts are up to date.

Simon Harris, from Essex, tweeted Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in Penygroes, Gwynedd, Wales, asking to pay the £1,800 that is owed in order to stop the “madness of kids potentially going hungry”.

The offer came after the school’s headmaster, Neil Foden, controversially told parents in a letter that the school cook had been instructed not to give food to any child “if their debt has not been cleared”.

The head of the 450-pupil school wrote that pupils who owe more than a penny on their school meal accounts will not be fed, NorthWalesOnline reports.

The letter was posted on social media and sparked criticism by Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford, who tweeted on Thursday: “Has the pandemic not taught us anything? Can we not be understanding? Come on now…”








Simon Harris, from Essex, tweeted Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle in Penygroes, Gwynedd, Wales, asking to pay the £1,800 that is owed
(

Image:

instagram.com/man.behaving.dadly)



In his own defence, Mr Foden said: “We don’t want to tar everyone with the same brush, but realistically, those parents who can pay but won’t pay, something has to be done.”

Parents of the school have until 19 November to get their children’s accounts up to date, but Man Behaving Dadly blogger Simon Harris has stepped up to pay the cash.

The dad-of-four, who has tens of thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers said: “I’ve just made this genuine offer to the management of Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle on Twitter.








The offer came after the school’s headmaster said pupils who owe more than a penny on their school meal accounts will not be fed
(

Image:

instagram.com/man.behaving.dadly)



“I will absolutely cover their catering deficit if it stops this madness of kids potentially going hungry.”

Speaking to the local paper, he said: “We could all sit here and argue about ‘parents who can afford it but won’t pay’ and ‘parents spending the cash on whatever else instead’ until the cows come home.

“All I’m interested in is putting this rubbish to bed and getting the kids fed.

“One problem at a time.”

On Thursday, Mr Foden said just a “handful of pupils” had run up debts totalling close to £2,000.

In the email to parents, he had apologised but said action had to be taken as there had been a deficit in the school meals budget.








Simon Harris made the offer in order to stop the “madness of kids potentially going hungry”
(

Image:

instagram.com/man.behaving.dadly)



He wrote: “Closer inspection revealed that this was because a handful of pupils had run up debts totalling more than £1,800. Unfortunately, this means that I have had to take the following steps.”

The headmaster said all debts over £10 will be transferred to the authority and parents will be invoiced by the council, adding: “All debts of over £0.01 will receive a message from the school to clear debts and credit the system by Friday, November 19th.”

Further steps will include refusing to serve children at the 11-18 school unless there accounts are clear.

He added that the “scale of the default means that something clearly has to be done.”

Speaking yesterday, a Gwynedd Council spokesperson said: “We would urge any parent or guardian who are having difficulty in paying for their child’s school meals to contact the education department or school directly. Their child may be entitled to free school meals.

“In terms of payment of school meals, an online system has been introduced on which parents should ensure that sufficient funds are in place to pay for their child’s school meals.




“The payment system offers some flexibility for parents who may for whatever reason not be able to make payment for a short period of time.

“Reminder messages are sent as required to ensure that no significant debts are incurred.

“As a council, we do not operate a blanket policy of refusing meals to pupils, and will discuss this matter directly with the school.”

The Mirror has contacted Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle for comment.


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