Parents urged to provide packed lunches for children following kitchen staff shortage

Pupils at two West Side primary schools are having to take in packed lunches as a result of a shortage in canteen staff.

Members of the council’s education and families committee have been told of the shortfall, which is impacting on the Happyhansel and Sandness schools.

It comes because of a failure to fill a post in the Happyhansel kitchen, which provides food for its own pupils as well as those in Sandness.

Director of Children’s Services, Helen Budge, said she very much regretted what had happened, adding that “all avenues” had been explored to try to fill the post.

Meanwhile, the committee chairman, George Smith, has urged anyone interested in filling the post to come forward.

Mrs Budge told the meeting: “It’s very much our regret that we are at the stage where we’re having to ask parents to consider providing packed lunches in Happyhansel and Sandness.

“We’ve had a resignation and advertised for staff for the canteen to provide the meals, and have been unsuccessful in recruiting.”

Mrs Budge said the post was being re-advertised and staff hoped that it could quickly be filled. She said it had not been possible to recruit staff from other canteens to plug the gap.

She added staff had examined the possibility of transporting food from other canteens as well, but faced challenges in keeping the food hot enough to serve to youngsters.

“It’s a difficult situation and it’s not a situation we would want to see.

“It’s really disappointing we are in this situation, and vexing for parents.”

She insisted the schools service provided “very good quality meals,” and added she hoped the situation would be resolved as soon as possible.

Following a question by Shetland North member Emma Macdonald, the meeting later heard that parents relying on free school meals would receive an equivalent payment to help cover the cost.


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.