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?