A Thornton Heath mum has demanded that the council replace "inadequate" kitchen facilities that she says have left pupils at one of Croydon's biggest primary schools going hungry.

Donna Thomas, 38, of Melrose Avenue, urged the authority to invest after a leaking roof in Winterbourne Junior Girls' School left children without hot meals for three weeks.

The mother-of-three said that the second-hand kitchen 'pod', which also caters for Winterbourne Junior Boys' and Winterbourne Nursery and Infants' schools, has been plagued by failing cookers, fridges and freezers and would be out of action again this month as the roof undergoes permanent repairs.

Pupils will be fed sandwiches while the cooking facilities are closed.

But Donna, a parent governor at the school, said children had complained of being hungry last time the kitchen shut.

She said: "There are a lot of children whose school meal is their only hot meal of the day. They are not getting a hot meal at home and they are not getting one at school.

"Those kids are going hungry. It is not good enough."

Croydon Council rented out the pod, which caters for over 1,000 pupils, to replace the schools' original kitchen after it was demolished in 2008.

Donna says parents were promised a new kitchen would be built, but in 2011 the council purchased the pod to serve as permanent facilities without notifying the schools beforehand.

She said the pod has been plagued with problems, with repair costs all coming from the schools' budget.

Now Donna - whose daughters Rickela, 11, Tashwana, 10, and Lyneeka, eight, all attend Winterbourne Junior Girls' - has now launched a petition calling for councillors to replace the pod and pay for a permanent kitchen to be built on-site.

She has collected over 400 signatures so far.

"I don't see why they can't give us a satisfactory kitchen," said Donna. "The pod is inadequate and I don't think it is fair. I think our children deserve a kitchen and a canteen that is fit for purpose."

She suggested the money spent on repairs could have been used to help fund a new canteen, which could also been used out of school hours by the wider community.

A council spokesman said: "The catering facilities at Winterbourne School are a permanent solution. However the original roof has now reached the end of its useful life so we are in the process of replacing it with a more substantial construction."

He could not say how much the pod had cost the council or how much it was paying to repair the roof.