A London private school’s ‘Austerity Day’ lunch has been met with a fierce response online, with many accusing the £24,000-a-year school of being tasteless and out of touch over the meal.
While St Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith normally feeds its students the likes of duck leg confit and slow-baked Moroccan lamb, its idea of an austerity lunch is the same kind of food that students in non-fee paying schools across the country eat every day – baked potato, coleslaw, beans, and fruit.
READ MORE: White pupils lag behind because they lack immigrant families’ ‘drive,’ Ofsted chief says
The school tweeted about the lunch, served to raise money for charity, using a photograph of a white-gloved waiter serving three peas on a silver platter.
“Today was the final Austerity Day of the year,” the tweet read. “Students and staff had baked potatoes, with beans and coleslaw, for lunch, with fruit for dessert. The money saved will be donated to the school’s charities.”
Although the school soon deleted the tweet, screenshots of it were widely shared on social media as people expressed disgust at the school’s idea of austerity.
Some questioned the menu itself, pointing out that baked potatoes, beans, and fruit are not really on par with what those struggling to survive under austerity would eat, while others questioned the use of the term ‘austerity’ at all given the punishing impact such measures have had on the public since the global financial crisis of 2008.
Others rushed to the school’s defense, commending St Paul’s for raising money for charity, and highlighting its work with food banks.
The school told the BBC it has carried out similar lunches for “many years,” in which the money saved on the scaled-down meals is passed on to local charities.
“The aim is also to raise the awareness of our students to those less fortunate than themselves,” it explained. “The choice of the word ‘austerity’ is to draw attention to the fact that others around them are facing significant economic difficulties.”
St Paul’s students usually have a different lunch menu each week, and can choose from four different self-service stations offering classic British meals, vegetarian meals, fish dishes, and stir fries, an article in the school webzine explains. The dining room also has a salad and fresh fruit bar, and, if that’s not enough choice, the school also has a cafe serving full breakfasts, lunch, and sweet snacks.
If you like this story, share it with a friend!