Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Calling all school cooks past and present

Durhan Universities are doing some research into school dinners. They are really keen to speak to anyone who has worked in a school kitchen since 1970. Ring Vicki on 07984 055590 to find out more!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The bad old days - pre Jamie

I thought it was worth remembering what we used to serve up as school dinner to our kids pre 2005. We have come such a long way since then. Just scroll back through my posts to see pictures of what the kids are eating now. I am looking to feature school food pictures from schools outside of Merton. Please send me a pic of your school dinners at your school! leave me a comment and I will be in touch.

Judy Hargadon awarded an OBE

I was delighted to read this morning that The Chief Executive of The School Food Trust, Judy Hargadon has been given an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

I have known Judy personally for the last 6 years since Merton Parents for Better Food in School began to have an impact on getting schools to improve. I personally had a deep suspicion of most civil servants and was very concerned that the majority failed to have a clue about the children's perspective. Judy however understood that we were failing to see the situation from the child's viewpoint.

She is a great strategic thinker and has given the School Food Trust a clear lead. I think she was absolutely right to start by developing school food standards so that we would have a clear regulatory framework which would protect children from being served nutritionally poor food. This was not universally popular and didn't win her many friends but she stuck to her guns.

I was particulary drawn to Judy because of her passion and zeal. For her it was more than a job and she spent many, many hours - way beyond the call of duty ensuring the detail was right. Her attention to detail is phenomenal and has made the SFT what it is today. She has of course been greatly aided by Prue Leith and Rob Rees who also deserve recognition for their roles in improving school food.

Judy has steered the Trust through the culling of the quangos and is busy developing a new way of working.

I personally have grave concerns about this governments commitment to school meals and am ready to go back to campaigning to ensure that our poorest and most vulnerable children are protected.We have won some battles but not the war. Most secondary schools in this country fail to put the nutritional needs of their students before their administrative problems. We are still failing to provide good quality tasty food cheaply and to serve it in a civilised and pleasant environment. Whilst we face appalling rates of rising childhood obesity twinned with rising poverty levels we are creating huge problems for the NHS (and yes, I know Head teachers face huge difficulties but many of them avoid doing anything)

However I am glad Judy will be at the helm of the school food trust continuing to put the needs of the children first and I am delighted that her hard work has been recognised.