Thursday, November 4, 2010

Brilliant letter in today's guardian

The Guardian, Thursday 4 November 2010

Education secretary Michael Gove should put two and two together before he takes money away from school dinners to improve attainment (Axed free meals pay for Gove's school scheme, 3 November). Research into the benefits of good school food shows a nutritious lunch leads to improvements in pupil behaviour, motivation and ability to learn and achieve, especially for poorer children. If Mr Gove's proposed pupil premium wants to help raise attainment and "close the gap between rich and poor", then that money should be spent on providing good food for every child.

We work with nearly 3,000 schools across the country, putting great food on the school dinner menu and food education in the timetable. Food for Life Partnership schools in disadvantaged areas report an increase in attendance as well as improved behaviour, and meal take-up among participating schools has risen by almost three times the national average.

Since Chestnuts primary school in Haringey, north London, joined the partnership in 2007 there have been far fewer incidents in the playground at lunchtimes, and no exclusions for almost 12 months. The school has experienced improved academic attainment for three consecutive years.

Paul Frost, the headteacher at Cambois first school in Northumberland, has said: "We work in an area where educating children on the importance of food choices and the importance of ensuring the children receive a balanced meal each day cannot be underestimated. It's crucial that we continue to be able to maintain the current provision for the benefit of the children and families we serve."

Libby Grundy

Director, Food for Life Partnership