FOOTBALLER Marcus Rashford hit out after a school in Gwynedd instructed its chef against giving meals to pupils who owed more than one penny in arrears.

The Manchester United and England striker responded to a letter to parents sent out to parents at Ysgol Dyffryn Nanttle in Penygroes.

It had come to the 24-year-old player’s awareness after being shared on social media by London newspaper Metro, which said the school would not give meals to any pupils whose debt was 2p or more.

The letter followed “a handful of pupils” whose parents were yet to pay back arrears of as much as £1,800.

Written by strategic headteacher Neil Foden, the letter said: “I was very surprised to learn at the end of the last term that there was an unexpected deficit in our school meals budget.”

It added: “The cook has been instructed not to give any to any child from November 22 if the debt has not been cleared or, in the future, to children whose accounts do not have enough money to pay for lunch.

“I am very sorry that we have had to take these steps but the scale of the default means that something clearly has to be done.”

The letter sent to parents of Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle this week.

The letter sent to parents of Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle this week.

All debts over £10 that are owed by parents have been transferred to Gwynedd Council, which will invoice them over the coming weeks, the letter said.

Rashford, who led a high-profile campaign for children to continue to receive free school meals during Covid lockdowns, tweeted on Thursday: “Has the pandemic not taught us anything? Can we not be understanding? Come on now.”

In a later tweet, he added: “For many children, lunch at school is the only meal they’ll get.”

Rashford’s comments came the day after he received an MBE from the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle for his campaign work to ensure children continued to receive free school meals during Covid-19 lockdowns.

The player-turned-campaigner said he would give the honour to his mother Melanie, who raised him and his four siblings, and last year revealed she would skip meals so that her children were able to have regular meals.

Speaking to the PA Agency, Rashford said: “It seems like there’s a lot going on but for me to put it in the simplest way – I’m trying to give children the things I didn’t have when I was kid.

“If I did have, I would have been much better off and had many more options in my life.”

Gwynedd Council has been approached for comment.