Schoolchildren forced to eat outside on snow day

Nicola Parker's daughter Megan was forced to eat her dinner in the cold on Monday because the dining room at Duke Street primary school was full
Nicola Parker's daughter Megan was forced to eat her dinner in the cold on Monday because the dining room at Duke Street primary school was full

Shivering schoolchildren had to eat their lunches outside in freezing temperatures.

The children were sent out of a primary school after the dining room was packed with parents who had been invited to a Mother’s Day lunch.

Youngsters at Duke Street Primary School, in Chorley, whose own mums hadn’t been able to attend later complained to their shocked parents that they had been forced to eat their packed lunches on cold picnic benches.

It came after a morning of snow showers and hail, with temperatures plummeting below freezing.

Angry mother-of-three Nicola Parker, 25, said: “My daughter Megan is only seven and on the way home she started telling my mum what had happened.

“She said she had to stop the car because she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“Megan said that the dining hall had been full because of a Mother’s Day lunch.

“She was told to go outside and eat her dinner but said she only took two bites because her hands were just too cold.

“My mum turned straight back and went in to the school to find out what had happened but she couldn’t get any answers.

“I couldn’t believe it. It was absolutely freezing – I wouldn’t have let a dog out in those conditions, never mind young children.

“It’s pathetic and all of the mums have been going mad. They have plenty of classrooms – they should have let them use one of them.”

Headteacher Andrew Kidd said the weather had been “sunny and dry” when he checked but added that he underestimated how cold the children would find it.

Dad Rob Hughes, 33, whose seven-year-old daughter Ellie was sent outside, said: “There is no way she would have been allowed to sit outside and eat her lunch if she had been at home.

“I was absolutely horrified when she told me.

“I don’t think it even got above freezing and we’d even had snow showers. She would have been shivering.

“She wasn’t dressed to be eating lunch outside and even the picnic benches must have been freezing cold.

“I’m really unhappy about it and will be complaining to the governors.”

Mr Kidd continued: “Our Mother’s Day lunch on Monday proved very popular, so we asked some of the older children to eat their packed lunches on the picnic benches to ease congestion in the hall.

“I went outside to talk to welfare staff briefly before making this decision.

“It was sunny and dry but it seems I underestimated how cold some children would find it.

“Many children were excited about being able to use the picnic benches for the first time this year and saw it as a treat.

“However, I can only apologise to those children and parents who felt it was too cold to be outside.

“With hindsight it would have been better to give children the choice.”