Wallington schoolboy denied lunch after computer error in Sutton

Stanley Park School student Darren Baker and mum Jackie

Stanley Park School student Darren Baker and mum Jackie

First published in News by , Chief Reporter

A 12-year-old schoolboy was forced to go without food for nine hours because his lunch “credit card” had run out.

Instead of allowing Darren Baker to pay for his pizza meal at a later date, his food was chucked in the bin and he went hungry.

Students at Stanley Park School now pre-pay for their school dinners in the same way you top up your mobile phone, which means children do not have to bring money to school.

But mum Jackie Baker’s home computer crashed the night before school and the family were unable to top up her son Darren’s lunch account on the system.

The following day when she approached a teacher about the problem, Mrs Baker was told not to worry as they would make sure he received his meal.

But when Darren chose his lunch and tried to pay he was told he didn’t have enough credit and his meal was binned.

Mrs Baker, of Taylor Road, Wallington, said: “I am absolutely incensed. He left home at 7.15am and didn’t eat again until he got home at 4pm.

“I have tried to speak to someone at the school about it, but they haven’t called me back yet.

“I’m so angry, I don’t even want an apology now, just assurances this will not happen again.”

Mrs Baker, who works at the Royal Marsden also went on to accuse the school of double standards.

She said: “The school never get tired of reminding us to feed our kids breakfast so they can concentrate, yet have the cheek to deny my son a £2 meal.”

David Taylor, headteacher at Stanley Park School, said: “Under no circumstances should any child go without lunch – this is a rare incident, which should not have taken place and we will make sure it does not happen again.

“Our cashless catering is designed to help parents pay for school meals more easily without children needing to bring money into school.

“Those having any difficulty with the system should contact their form tutor.”

Comments (14)

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11:41am Thu 28 Jan 10

redwp says...

With all due respect, if the same thing had happened to me, I would have sent my child in with a packed lunch or at least a sandwich and some fruit, just to be on the safe side. Plus I would have thought it was common sense not to have let the card completely run out of money before topping it up just to avoid these sort of problems! It's all well and good blaming it on the school but if that happened to all 1,000 odd children at the school, the school soon would be out of pocket and then the parents would have cause to complain!
With all due respect, if the same thing had happened to me, I would have sent my child in with a packed lunch or at least a sandwich and some fruit, just to be on the safe side. Plus I would have thought it was common sense not to have let the card completely run out of money before topping it up just to avoid these sort of problems! It's all well and good blaming it on the school but if that happened to all 1,000 odd children at the school, the school soon would be out of pocket and then the parents would have cause to complain! redwp
  • Score: 1

2:44pm Thu 28 Jan 10

Malcolm Armsteen says...

I love these photographs, with mum always looking so depressed at the whole thing! He didn't die! He didn't ask his teacher - so how hungry was he? He looks OK.
The yellow plate is a nice touch. Did your photographer take it with him?
I love these photographs, with mum always looking so depressed at the whole thing! He didn't die! He didn't ask his teacher - so how hungry was he? He looks OK. The yellow plate is a nice touch. Did your photographer take it with him? Malcolm Armsteen
  • Score: 0

3:38pm Thu 28 Jan 10

ric says...

i was going to say maybe the photographer should have used fill flash. you know make the picture look a bit more punchy. but saying that the depressing style of picture seems to work quiet well.
the kid could have brushed his hair too.
i was going to say maybe the photographer should have used fill flash. you know make the picture look a bit more punchy. but saying that the depressing style of picture seems to work quiet well. the kid could have brushed his hair too. ric
  • Score: 0

4:21pm Thu 28 Jan 10

carshalton mum says...

I quite agree with redwp, why didn't the Mum send him in with a packed lunch, its only common sense. The other day my daughter told me she only had 35p left on her account. The next day I sent her in with a packed lunch to be on the safe side, I then topped up her cashless card that morning. The payment went through without any problems but at least I didn't take any chances that she might go hungry that lunchtime.
I think this family is just over reacting and publicly seeking. All they have gain by it is to make themselves look stupid!
I quite agree with redwp, why didn't the Mum send him in with a packed lunch, its only common sense. The other day my daughter told me she only had 35p left on her account. The next day I sent her in with a packed lunch to be on the safe side, I then topped up her cashless card that morning. The payment went through without any problems but at least I didn't take any chances that she might go hungry that lunchtime. I think this family is just over reacting and publicly seeking. All they have gain by it is to make themselves look stupid! carshalton mum
  • Score: 1

9:30pm Thu 28 Jan 10

old man on the hill says...

Perhaps the young man should put this down as a lesson in life and he didn't stave after all.
When the picture was taken, was he auditioning for a part in Oliver Twist.
Perhaps the young man should put this down as a lesson in life and he didn't stave after all. When the picture was taken, was he auditioning for a part in Oliver Twist. old man on the hill
  • Score: 1

8:10am Fri 29 Jan 10

theavengers says...

This pre pay system is a pain and I refuse to use it for lunch, now preferring to do packed lunch for my daughter. They want to make it as difficult as possible for parents to pay for anything (saying it's easier) and I don't trust putting my debit details all over the computer in a system where I never had a problem with sending cash before.
This pre pay system is a pain and I refuse to use it for lunch, now preferring to do packed lunch for my daughter. They want to make it as difficult as possible for parents to pay for anything (saying it's easier) and I don't trust putting my debit details all over the computer in a system where I never had a problem with sending cash before. theavengers
  • Score: -1

9:52am Fri 29 Jan 10

Fed up in Chase says...

Believe me when I say ----- some very happy "old school chums" are hurumphing in their armchairs in million pound houses across the country!... They are raking in hundreds of thousands of pounds in profits from the implementation of these systems across the country.
Fat cats in westminster & fat cats in private companies got together & thought how can we squeeze more money from the cashcow that is the ordinary british public? We have a deal with certain retailers & force parents to buy certain items of clothing from certain shops before their children can even go to school... fining them for sending children in cheaper versions... We already have a deal with holiday comapnies, forcing parents to take their children at certain times, making them pay higher premiums & fining them if they take them at other times... So now we FORCE them to use these lunchtime systems & force the local authorities to pay the private company to put these systems in.... "Hahahaah" laugh the "old school chums" swigging their brandy in their gentlemens clubs, while their children are privately educated!
Believe me when I say ----- some very happy "old school chums" are hurumphing in their armchairs in million pound houses across the country!... They are raking in hundreds of thousands of pounds in profits from the implementation of these systems across the country. Fat cats in westminster & fat cats in private companies got together & thought how can we squeeze more money from the cashcow that is the ordinary british public? We have a deal with certain retailers & force parents to buy certain items of clothing from certain shops before their children can even go to school... fining them for sending children in cheaper versions... We already have a deal with holiday comapnies, forcing parents to take their children at certain times, making them pay higher premiums & fining them if they take them at other times... So now we FORCE them to use these lunchtime systems & force the local authorities to pay the private company to put these systems in.... "Hahahaah" laugh the "old school chums" swigging their brandy in their gentlemens clubs, while their children are privately educated! Fed up in Chase
  • Score: -1

10:04am Fri 29 Jan 10

theavengers says...

Fed up in Chase--amen! EXACTLY. While the rest of us working class struggle just to get school places inthe borough we pay council tax in and basic improvements they send their (often delinquent/spoiled/e
xpelled) darlings to private schools. Forcing us commoners to do as they say and as you said, make big money off these pre-pay systems.
Fed up in Chase--amen! EXACTLY. While the rest of us working class struggle just to get school places inthe borough we pay council tax in and basic improvements they send their (often delinquent/spoiled/e xpelled) darlings to private schools. Forcing us commoners to do as they say and as you said, make big money off these pre-pay systems. theavengers
  • Score: -1

10:26am Fri 29 Jan 10

Malcolm Armsteen says...

@theavengers - try getting a life!
@theavengers - try getting a life! Malcolm Armsteen
  • Score: 1

12:43pm Fri 29 Jan 10

theavengers says...

I have a life, what's your problem? Having a kid in this school system means I care. I'm not some baron old ****. How childish can you be. I care because I and my husbnad pay a lot of taxes to this borough, I have a child, and a life. What do you have? Not much?
I have a life, what's your problem? Having a kid in this school system means I care. I'm not some baron old ****. How childish can you be. I care because I and my husbnad pay a lot of taxes to this borough, I have a child, and a life. What do you have? Not much? theavengers
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Fri 29 Jan 10

carshalton mum says...

I don't think this story is even news worthy, this sort of thing happens in schools all the time. I was only speaking to a friend of mine this morning about it and she told me her child had been refused a dinner at another school only recently, due to lack of funds on her cash card.Was that reported in this paper, I think not. In fact I know of alot worse things that happen in different schools across this borough, that never get reported. So what makes this story so special I wonder.
Stanley Park only went over to the cashless system last year, they were one of the last schools in the borough to do so. If they hadn't gone over they would probably been called old fashoned, so they couldn't win either way.
I don't think this story is even news worthy, this sort of thing happens in schools all the time. I was only speaking to a friend of mine this morning about it and she told me her child had been refused a dinner at another school only recently, due to lack of funds on her cash card.Was that reported in this paper, I think not. In fact I know of alot worse things that happen in different schools across this borough, that never get reported. So what makes this story so special I wonder. Stanley Park only went over to the cashless system last year, they were one of the last schools in the borough to do so. If they hadn't gone over they would probably been called old fashoned, so they couldn't win either way. carshalton mum
  • Score: 0

7:09pm Fri 29 Jan 10

Pointless says...

What an utter waste of time as a Story. Sutton Guardian seems to have something against Stanley Park - grow up Guardian. You only ever publish negative press about this school - nothing Positive at all. What a complete waste of space you writers are. No mention in your main newspaper about the school recently being one of the most improved in London or ever anything nice to say at all. If you can't say anything good, just keep shut. You don't treat the other Sutton schools like this.
I think this parent has picked up on this and everytime something goes wrong now it seems the norm to go running to the Guardian. If you were a good parent, you knew he had no credit, send him with some lunch. Don't blame the school for your poor parenting.
Maybe we should all do to the Sutton Guardian what they say happened to this boys dinner - BIN IT!!!!
What an utter waste of time as a Story. Sutton Guardian seems to have something against Stanley Park - grow up Guardian. You only ever publish negative press about this school - nothing Positive at all. What a complete waste of space you writers are. No mention in your main newspaper about the school recently being one of the most improved in London or ever anything nice to say at all. If you can't say anything good, just keep shut. You don't treat the other Sutton schools like this. I think this parent has picked up on this and everytime something goes wrong now it seems the norm to go running to the Guardian. If you were a good parent, you knew he had no credit, send him with some lunch. Don't blame the school for your poor parenting. Maybe we should all do to the Sutton Guardian what they say happened to this boys dinner - BIN IT!!!! Pointless
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Fri 29 Jan 10

carshalton mum says...

I quite agree with everything pointless has just said and that is exactly the point I was trying to make. The Sutton Guardian is bias against Stanley Park. If it had been another school this had happened at,they would not have printed it in their newspaper.
I quite agree with everything pointless has just said and that is exactly the point I was trying to make. The Sutton Guardian is bias against Stanley Park. If it had been another school this had happened at,they would not have printed it in their newspaper. carshalton mum
  • Score: 0

8:37am Wed 3 Feb 10

carshaltonmum says...

my sons school have just started to use this system too. It is a lot easier to use. Although I still have to remember to send in the bf club money at the beginning of the week as this is not done on a "Prepay" thing... whe you sign up for the pre-pay system you are given an opportunity to sign up for a email reminder, this will generate an email to you when you only have a certain amount of credit left on your account, you can set it to as low as you like. I have set ours to £4.00 this way I know that at least my son will NOT go without his lunch.... it is all about being an organised parent..
my sons school have just started to use this system too. It is a lot easier to use. Although I still have to remember to send in the bf club money at the beginning of the week as this is not done on a "Prepay" thing... whe you sign up for the pre-pay system you are given an opportunity to sign up for a email reminder, this will generate an email to you when you only have a certain amount of credit left on your account, you can set it to as low as you like. I have set ours to £4.00 this way I know that at least my son will NOT go without his lunch.... it is all about being an organised parent.. carshaltonmum
  • Score: 0

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