Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'm back!

Sorry for the long silence - especially when there has been so much going on in the world of UK school dinners! I have broken a couple of bones in my foot during a brilliant Sports day that Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming held. Although it is a relatively minor injury the swelling and bruising mean it is quite painful and I find sitting at the computer uncomfortable. However I am itching to comment on a few issues

1) Trial of universal free school meals.
Well it is early days but initial reports look good. You can read an account of the impact they are having in a school in Durham by clicking here If we are serious about wanting to improve the diet of the nations children then this is the simplest and most cost effective way to do it. Instead of spending money on shiny glossy ad campaigns like change4life persuading children to eat more fruit and veg surely it is better to invest in decent lunches for our children? It is better to lead by example rather than lecture! As well as the health benefits it also gives a boost to local economies - training and employing staff to cook and serve the food creates jobs. If we were really intelligent we could also create a market for small growers and local farmers to supply their local schools with fresh produce.

2) Making it easier for low income families to claim free school meals.
A recent study commissioned by the School Food Trust discovered that up to 1 in 5 low income families didn't realise they were entitled to free school meals. You can have a look at the report here. I think it is absolutely scandalous that the arrangements to claim are so complex. Entilement to free school meals should be automatically triggered when you claim for benefits taking the onus off parents to deal with the paperwork.

3) And finally....

being an avid fan of twitter, (my user name is jackieschneider if anyone wants to be pals!)I absolutely love Somerset County Services who now "tweet" their menu. They also have a great website