Sunday, July 31, 2011

A hot topic in schools

We take a look at the challenges facing school meals provision and the dangers of under estimating its worth - A recent study found that a predominantly processed food diet at the age of three is directly associated with a lower IQ at the age of eight and a half, compared to children who eat a healthier diet.
Did you know that?

The decline in family mealtimes is a symptom of modern life. In households where both parents work, sitting down to breakfast is often impractical, while finding time to prepare a freshly cooked meal in the evening can also be a challenge. On the other side of the coin, there are families on low incomes who do not have the financial or educational means to provide a healthy balanced diet. For their children, a school meal might be the only access they have to freshly prepared, nutritious food.

Proof that it works

A University of West England study analysed 48 of the Primaries in the Food For Life Partnership (FFLP) set up to encourage pupils and their parents to eat healthy food and learn how to cook it and grow it themselves, found that both inspection results and pupil's behaviour had improved under the scheme. More than a third (36.2%) were judged as outstanding by Ofsted, compared with 17.3% before joining the FFLP.

More than 3,600 schools are now members of the programme which encourages them to work towards Bronze, Silver and Gold levels of the Food for Life Partnership award scheme. Over 2,800 schools now serve Food for Life menus which are seasonal and freshly prepared with no hydrogenated fats or battery eggs.

The School Lunch Grant - what now?

The school lunch grant was a specific, ring-fenced grant made to local authorities and schools until March 2011. Its aim was to increase the number of children eating healthy school meals by helping schools and councils keep down the price of a school lunch. It could only be used in four ways – to pay for ingredients for school lunch; pay labour costs of catering staff; buy small pieces of kitchen equipment, for example, microwaves, ovens, combi-ovens, mixers etc; pay for the nutrient analysis software required to assess whether a menu meets the national school lunch standards and the expertise to operate the software.

The coalition government has, however, removed this ring-fencing - it now forms part of schools’ baseline budgets from the Department for Education. Commenting on its removal, Sandra Russell, National Chairman of LACA said: “As the ring-fencing status of the SLG has only just been removed, it is too early to speculate about the possible outcomes of the decision.

"LACA will continue to work with schools and Local Authorities to emphasise the importance of school meals to the development of young people and how it should form part of the whole school approach to their education - if we are nationally to tackle the obesity crisis and decrease NHS costs in the longer term.

"Considerable efforts should be made to encourage Head Teachers and School Governing Bodies to channel the School Lunch Grant towards supporting the provision of school meals, as originally designated.


  1. I do agree that children should get a healthy lunch... but where are the parents in all this?

  2. I totaly for removing junk food from schools.

  3. I'm surprised meals make sure a difference! Very informative post, I'm liking the new blog design =3

    Keep up the hard work, I'll be back! Followed

  4. This is good it'll surely help childhood obesity. I remember in my third year in high school they took out all the pepsi machines and started making everything low fat in the cafeteria. Needless to say, many complained lol.