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Dagenham parents cry foul as pupils overcharged in school lunch confusion

PUBLISHED: 15:46 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:16 16 October 2017

Sydney Russell School in Dagenham

Sydney Russell School in Dagenham

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Parents at a school in Dagenham have spoken of confusion over money owed for lunches after a new till system failed to be installed for the start of the academic year.

Staff members at Sydney Russell School in Parsloes Avenue, manually recorded what each child ate in the first two weeks of term leading to a back-log of entries on the parent pay system which allows pupils to spend credit on meals.

However, some parents report being told by their children that staff seemed unclear, students were seen taking down names which led to misidentification and charging to the wrong accounts, and pupils were charged differing amounts for the same items.

Karen Thomas, 53, of Hunters Square, said: “My son had two pizza slices and a piece of cake which should have come to £3 but I was charged £6.10.”

Many accounts went from credit into debit overnight after the records were entered into the system forcing many families to give their children packed lunches while they budget to clear the remaining debt.

Jodie Nicholl, 39, of Bushway, said: “I understand we pay for food my son’s eaten, but we can’t afford to pay for things he hasn’t eaten.”

Some parents remain adamant that the debt is unproven as the manual records don’t tally with what their children had for their lunch.

Steven Kaye, 42, of Bonham Road, said his account is still in debit by £39.

He told the Post: “My daughter was marked down as having tuna, well she hates tuna. I was charged on a day she was off sick. I will stand my ground on this.”

Janis Davies, school principal, admitted there was some confusion over manual entries but said the system is now running smoothly and all the information relating to the lunches is correct.

She said: “I am happy to meet with parents, to show this information and to go through any discrepancies. I’m also happy to set up arrangements to pay off the debt little and often so parents can continue using the system in the meantime.”

Parents should ring the school or email the office on office@sydney-r.bardaglea.org.uk

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