Parents left confused after Ipswich and Hadleigh Ormitots reveal plans to raise school meal prices

A child on his way to nursery. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A child on his way to nursery. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Two Suffolk nurseries have defended their decision to put the price of hot meals up to £12 a day in the wake of national funding changes being rolled out later this year.

Parents of children at Ormitots in Ipswich and Hadleigh, run by Ormiston Families, were left confused after bosses announced they would start charging more for meals from September.

The extra charge – of £10 at the Ipswich nursery and £12 at the Hadleigh nursery – will pay for three hot meals, drinks and snacks.

But families are able to opt out of paying the extra money and can provide their children with home-cooked packed lunches instead.

Nursery operations manager at Ormitots Susannah Forth said: “We are passionate about caring for children and are pleased to be providing parents of children aged three and four with 30 hours free childcare from September.

“Like other nursery providers across Suffolk, we need to make a small charge to cover our costs of providing each child with three meals, drinks, snacks and other expenses that are not included in the funding provided by the Government.

“This charge is optional and parents are welcome to provide their own food and drink for their child.

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She added: “We apologise if our recent communication about our charges was not clear and ask parents with any concerns to contact us, where we will be happy to discuss their questions.”

The new charges will be introduced from September when Government legislation makes sure every youngster in England and Wales is entitled to 30 hours free childcare. Until now, some children have only been eligible for 15 hours.

Currently, both nurseries receive an average of £50-£60 a day – and the loss of this could significantly reduce the amount of funding available to them.

Bosses said they have also made sure that if a child only stays for half a day, the price will be reduced to £7 to reflect this.

Outlining the charges in more detail, Ms Forth added: “The charge will provide a child who attends for a full day with breakfast, hot lunch, hot dinner and snacks in between, as well as items such as sun cream.

“Parents who would prefer not to pay the charge can send their child with food for the day, which nursery staff will look after.”

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