On the 21st of January, I will be speaking at the APPG on School Food. I believe that it is about time that the Education Authority put something in place which means that if a vegan family requests vegan food for their child then they can’t be refused.
Please sign my petition to add your voice to my campaign. Let’s get to 10,000!
The number of vegans in this country is growing at a fast rate, according to The Vegan Society, “The number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019. In 2019 there were 600,000 vegans, or 1.16% of the population; 276,000 (0.46%) in 2016; and 150,000 (0.25%) in 2014.” A direct result of this growth is that the number of vegan children attending mainstream schools in the UK is also growing.
Due to both a lack of knowledge regarding the philosophical aspect of ethical veganism and the absence of clear instruction from the Department for Education many Head teachers are still refusing to provide a plant-based option for those who are entitled to request it. This is discrimination and made all the worse as it is coming from institutions that boast they are ‘inclusive’.
When my own daughter was refused vegan options in 2017 I felt heartbroken. As a consequence, I have spent the last few years of my life offering free consultation services to parents up and down the UK who have felt excluded, belittled, and let down by Head teachers refusing to feed their children. I have comforted many parents as they considered homeschooling, encouraged teenagers to petition at their High schools, and supported many others after having been ignored by both Head teachers and school food services who do not believe that it is their duty to provide plant-based options for their compassionate kids.
In the Education Authority, 2019, ‘Guidance for the Provision of Special Diets in School’ under the heading of ‘Religious, Cultural and Vegetarian and vegan diets’ it states…
“Other children follow special diets for religious or cultural reasons, or because they are vegetarian or vegan. Standard school catering services menus are likely to meet most needs in relation to dietary requirements however where they do not meet such needs, a Parent/Guardian may contact the school to request special meals.”
It seems like such a simple request yet catering services are not meeting the needs of their vegan children and schools are still refusing. This simply cannot go on!
Through creating this petition I hope to highlight the need for the Department for Education to make it absolutely clear to Head teachers that providing vegan options in schools is not something that can be debated or refused and that a hot, nutritious, balanced, plant-based option must be made available every day, as standard, if requested.
If ‘Every Child Matters’ then this inclusive step must be taken.