Saturday, June 11, 2011

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.


Anonymous said...

Just shows how corrupt the system is!! Rewarding a body who diverts government funding away from those who actually do the work and achive

Good reward for someone who loked after herself when sacking good emploees in a vindictive manner. Well done to Judy for retaining her £100 000+ salary and protecting her board whilst destroying talented peole to do so . This is what is valued in 21st century Britain as good!!!

Jackie said...

I am as angry as you are about decent public sector workers loosing their jobs. But is this Judy's fault? The responsibility lies clearly with this government.

I am surprised you think Judy's has protected the board! I, along with the majority have been unceremoniously dumped in a frantic attempt to reform the School Food Trust in a way that will allow it to survive. I am not taking it personally though as the survival of the Trust is more important.

Judy's has been rewarded for the reforming role she has played in improving school food. Would you rather they had rewarded a banker?

Rather than fighting amongst ourselves I think it is important that all of us who care passionately about school food stand together.