Truth behind Hatfield school’s water ‘scandal’
PUBLISHED: 09:24 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:54 20 April 2018
A Hatfield school has quashed suggestions in the national media that it is charging pupils for water during the current hot weather.
Yesterday a parent of an Onslow St Audrey’s pupil posted on Facebook: “Can’t believe that our children can’t even get water at school anymore without paying.”
The post generated a huge backlash against the school before it was taken down.
Onslow St Audrey’s business manager Mr Richards explained to the Welwyn Hatfield Times that water is free around the school and there are many dispensers that pupils can drink from without a cup or a water bottle.
He said: “We do charge 5p for a cup as a way to cut down on our plastic waste.
“We have always urged parents to make sure their child has a reusable water bottle while at school.
“We do not charge for water, pupils have plenty of access to free water.”
He also explained that the 5p charge for cups has been in place for “many years” and after checking this with past pupils they confirmed.
A number of national papers have posted and printed misleading headlines suggesting that the school charges for water.
One former pupil, who wished not to be named, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I don’t see the sudden fuss.
“I left about four/five years ago and we had to take in water bottles or pay 5p for a cup.
“You just can’t please people, you moan about plastic waste well here’s the solution.
“Go and buy your child a reusable water bottle.”
The school also came under fire after it recently changed the structure of its lunch meal deal.
Prior to April 16, this year, the meal deal consisted of a main meal, desert and a bottle of water and cost £2.40.
A spokesperson for the school said: “On the advice of our catering provider, as the school was inconsistent with other local schools, we reviewed the cost and structure of our lunch meal deal.
“After a thorough and considered review the decision was made to change the structure of the meal rather than increase the cost of the meal.
“The cost of the meal would remain at £2.40 but would no longer include a bottle of water.”
The school states the decision to remove the bottle of water rather than to increase the cost was to save parent’s money, reduce the plastic waste generated by school as drinking water is freely available to all pupils via four water dispensers across Onslow St Audrey’s.
For students who are registered as free school meals and do not have a water bottle, a cup will be provided.
The spokesperson added: “An email was sent to all parents to notify them in advance of the changes being made.
“At no time will a child ever be refused access to water.
“If a child does not have their water bottle, and does not have 5p for a cup; we will provide a cup to them free of charge.”
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