A number of meal portion sizes at primary schools have been reduced as they were over recommended calorie limits.
Education Minister Julie Edge said in the House of Keys last week that a few meals were over a certain calorific value.
The issue is being raised today (Tuesday) in the Keys.
A number of MHKs were concerned children may not be eating enough, especially as parents struggle to ‘heat and eat’ due to the soaring costs of living.
Joney Faragher asked if the department had accounted for different ages or if schools had made the reduction across the board.
Ms Edge said the decision was made by her department but it was informed by experts.
‘We look at our menus and they advise accordingly,’ she said.
She added that meals should reach 600 calories.
Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse asked what this is based on.
Ms Edge said: ‘We’re working with Public Health and dieticians to make sure children have appropriate portion sizes.’
Schools are best placed to understand concerns, she explained, and school staff are aware of any requirements certain children may have.
Douglas North MHK David Ashford asked if any consultation had been done with parents prior to changes to the menu coming in.
Mr Ashford felt that it was important to consult with parents as the school lunchtime meal may be the only proper meal a child could be receiving in the day.
The minister said she understood that the ‘whole ethos’ behind school meals is to get a hot meal and a drink, which isn’t changing.
‘The menus are reviewed every half term and published to parents on school websites,’ she said.
Ms Edge added that no direct concerns had been voiced to her.
When asked if children are consulted on their meals, she said that anything new being brought in is always put out on a trial basis to test it with pupils and that the menu is adapted to make sure that schools capture every child’s needs.
Mr Moorhouse wanted to know what the calorie intake limit was based on, to which the minister said she would circulate any information she has around the department’s consultation with professionals.
Ms Edge explained she would go to schools to consult on various questions raised by MHKs in the sitting.
Ms Faragher asked the minister to survey children on whether they still feel hungry after lunch, which she said she would ask schools to advise the department of any concerns.
Tim Glover MHK also wanted her to consult with head teachers about children feeling hungry throughout the afternoon.
Mr Ashford finally asked for a one word answer to his question, when he asked if any child in any of school indicates they require more, if they will be given more food, to which Ms Edge said they would.
The minister asked if anyone is aware of any child going hungry, they should let her department know and it will ‘check on that child’s situation’.