Friday, June 25, 2010

Ofsted report into school food

Ofsted have been carrying out an special inspection of school food in the UK.They have visited a group of schools to check schools are meeting the nutritional standards for meals and to look at school food policies. They have talked to children about the whole lunch time experience.

The good news is that most schools are well on their way to meeting the standards. However they did identify some primary schools that were struggling to provide enough fruit in the menus and issues with some secondary schools offering fried food too often. So not perfect but a dramatic improvement on the quality of food from 5 years ago.

Ofsted have picked up on the problem of costs of school meals and healthy packed lunches. From their discussions with parents it became clear that it was not lack of knowledge about healthy eating that led to unhealthy packed lunches but cost and access to fresh fruit and veg in local shops.

This report highlights the plight of low income working families who are unable to afford a school meal. This is yet more evidence than the government should act to restore eligibility for families under the poverty line.(It is not too late to email Mr Gove over this - click here.)

Not surprisingly some parts of the press have chosen to ignore the main finding of this report and concentrate on "Nosy parkers spy on kids packed lunches" angle. However there is some serious consideration of the report in the Independent and The Guardian.

This Ofsted report is yet another piece of evidence alongside School Food Trust research that supports the need for subsidising school meals. The long term savings to the NHS mean this would be a wise investment.

You can download a copy of the report here

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