A Douglas North MHK feels support for families with children studying food technology is inconsistent.

David Ashford quizzed the education minister on the support that’s currently available for low income families with children who study food technology at school.

This is a cookery class whereby pupils are expected to bring in their own ingredients.

In the House of Keys, Minister Julie Edge said that parents are encouraged to approach their head teacher if they’re experiencing difficulties generally.

However, schools can help families experiencing financial hardship by providing the ingredients for them.

Mr Ashford described this approach as ‘not consistent’ as it’s down to the individual school as to how it’s dealt with.

He asked how many families had taken up this offer of support, but Ms Edge could not provide any figures. 
She added that there is an annual faculty budget for food technology which takes this into account.

The minister said if there are any concerns that this available help isn’t sufficient, there are other options in schools.

Plus, if any teachers need to purchase additional food on behalf of their students, they can reclaim these costs from the school.

Asked if this offer of help is advertised anywhere, Ms Edge explained that there is an endowment application form available on the Department of Education, Sport and Culture’s website.

The MHK disagreed, saying there appears to be no signposting at all to this.

He argued not all teachers are aware of this option.

Ms Edge closed the argument, saying the department is aware that its schools and head teachers know who needs support and they are ‘best placed’ to deal with these instances on a case by case basis.

She asked Mr Ashford to get in touch if he knew of any specific cases.