Friday, February 27, 2009

Just a name change ?

Are Scolarest about to become history? Look what the kitchen rat says.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Real Fast Food Show.

Why can't all health promotion programmes for kids be like this? It was intelligent, pacy, thought provoking without being preachy or condescending. I am talking about "The Real Fast Food Show" that I saw at a Croydon High School today. It is the brain child of the School Food Trust and designed to educate young people about the truth behind some"fast food".

Meet the characters:

The rise of the soup kitchen.

Interesting article about charity workers in Germany calling for free school meals

Today's school dinner

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bristol City Council plan to raise its own cattle for school dinners

What an interesting idea. You can read more about this story here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Misleading menu description at Museum of London Docklands restaurant

Last day of half term, Andrew and I spent a great day at the Dockland Museum of London. We went to eat at the restaurant (food great, service truly appalling) and discovered that the claim "kids eat free" was not true. You can see the claim on the website here What they actually mean is that if your child orders from their special "kiddy" menu then they eat free. Since the portions are tiny and not adequate for an 11 year old it means in practise that this special offer is really only for pre school kids.

I know I am sad but it offends my sense of justice and fair play so I have emailed museum and restaurant directly. Watch this space to see what they say.

Please don't let it put you off museum itself - the slavery exhibition was excellent.

News update: I have just heard from Museum of London. They are going to change their signs to point out that this offer only extends to children eating from the children's menu. They believe that their childrens menu offers portions suitable for up to 13 year olds. Middle son and I are going to return to check this out courtesy of the restaurant who have invited us back for a free lunch. Will be keeping an eye on website to check it changes soon. Watch this space!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

sorry about the lack of school dinner pics

A combination of camera problems, bad weather and half term holidays mean I have not been able to post weekly pictures of the meals. Will be back on the case as soon as school starts again.

In the meantime am having a very exciting time making plans for the"angry moms" visit. Wimbledon Odeon have just confirmed that they will host the evening screening of the film for us. This will be a brilliant opportunity to get lots of parents together to discuss how we are going to make the chnages in schools that our kids need.

You can see a music trailer for the film here

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thanks Ray!

This really made my day!Click here

Monday, February 9, 2009

Anyone living in London Borough of Richmond?

Stephanie from School Food Matters has organised a petition calling on Richmond Council to invest in school kitchens, training for catering staff and a commitment to cook good food and promote farm links. Please pass this link on to anyone you know living in the area. You can sign the petition by clicking here.

Wonder if they have set up a facebook group? They should!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Proof that a healthy diet pays off?

According to a study just published by the Institute of Social and Economic Research it looks like the fantastic work Jamie Oliver did improving the food in Greenwich has led to a fall in the abscence rate of 15% and an increase in SAT scores.

I completely agree that as the School Food Trust say so succintly "eat well - do well". Children are bound to do better if their diet dramatically improves. But there is a part of me that is really nervous about tying the need for good food for school children to exam scores.

Firstly, I have no confidence in SAT's as an indicator of anything other than a schools ability to teach children to score highly on SAT's. Secondly, even if an improved diet did not lead to improved exam scores I would still be leaping up and down demanding children get decent food.

It's a strange old world we live in when we have to "prove" that there is a clear correlation between achievement and diet when the medical profession has long since established that a healthy diet containing fuit and veg is the best way to improve health chances.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Massive survey on kids health

Cost sector catering are running an interesting story about a huge survey on childrens health click here to read

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Real Meals Cookbook

I have been impressed by the "Real Meals Cookbook" that the government have produced as a free resource for every year 8 child in the country. It is well presented with good basic recipes for everyday meals.My worry is that schools don't seem in a mad rush to order them. They are absolutely free - schools just have to ask. They can ring 0845 60 2260 or send an email to to order multiple copies.

Will be chasing up Merton secondary schools tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Did you know it is salt awareness week?

I went to a reception organised by CASH today at the House of Commons to mark salt awareness week. CASH have done a great job in getting the food industry to reduce salt in supermarket food. As a result of the reductions they made this year they calculate they will have saved 6000 lives. That's got to be good news. Sadly fast food joints and many restaurants have failed to heed the message with lots of dishes they sell containing more than a daily allowance.

We need to send them a strong message.

Monday, February 2, 2009

School Meal Development Group meeting

As a result of our campaign to dramatically improve school meals in merton the Local Authority set up the School Meals Development Group so that representative head teachers, Merton Parents, school governors, nutrionists and local authority staff who manage the catering contracts could get together on a regular basis to monitor progress and make improvements.

Last Friday the group met again. Our Merton Parent reps tell us that there were 4 areas of concern that were raised:

1) Problems with retention of school cooks - low pay being raised as a possible reason.
2) Management of catering staff - again low pay is a factor.
3) Portion control - this could be staff training issue but schools across the borough reported that portion sizes varied widely and sometimes older children recieved less food than the younger ones
4) Some headteachers failing to give feedback on the meals provided. Lack of time being the main reason cited.

So how do we take this forward?
Campaign for more money for the cooks?
Encourage more children to take up the meals with the proviso the extra take up funds payrises?
Ask staff to take pictures of school meals so we can compare sizes?
Ask local authority staff to carry out a random sweep of visits just to focus on portion sizes?
Write (again) to headteachers explaining that their cooperation in giving feedback on meals is vital if we are to get the bset possible school meal service for our children?

Anyone else have any ideas?