Thursday, October 30, 2008

Healthy eating in schools conference

Ed Balls giving the keynote address at yesterdays conference. He was in listening mode and told me he would investigate ways of making free school meals easier to take up and will look at why it has to be applied for annually. Slightly less forthcoming about what to do about kids who are officially under the poverty line but still don't qualify for school meals.

Prof Winkler gave a great talk about the puchases children make at the school fringe. It was clear from his talk that whole school really means engaging with the local community.

The other really exciting presentation was from Rosemary Molinari from the Leeds School Meals Stategy group. They have commissioned research from the Faculty of Health at Leeds Metropolitan University to investigate why take up of free school meals in Leeds is so low. The initial finding indicate that the reasons the students gave were not due to stigma as is often thought but were for precisely the same reasons that children who eat packed lunches give for not choosing school dinners. Issues of choice, unpleasant dining rooms and queuing figured highly. Unfortunately I cant find the research on the web but will post a link to it as soon as I find one. I was really impressed with Rosemary. She had a really clear strategic vision. This is the first time I have heard about the exciting work Leeds are doing. am keen to find out more!!!

A great conference - thought provoking with terrific speakers.