Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm dumped!

Well my time as part of "the great and the good" has come to an end. I am no longer a board member or trustee of the School Food Trust. This government has shown no love toward school dinners and was keen to loose many of the quangos that were associated with the last labour government. The only way for the School Food Trust to survive was to become a community interest company that could bring in funding to replace the government funding. it became clear I have nothing to contribute in this shiny bright new future. I am at heart a campaigner not a salesperson. This has been a very difficult transformation for the Trust. Many talented and committed staff are amongst the casualties.

I want the School Food Trust to survive - primarily as a defender of minimum nutritional standards in schools. It also has amassed vast amounts of expertise for schools and caterers on how to run good quality school meals services that needs to be shared and widely disseminated. If it can generate enough income from local authorities and PCTs ( or wellness boards as they will now be known as) it stands a fighting chance. It is also going to look at providing services to any providers of children's food outside of a school setting.

I got a letter from Mr Gove saying thank you for my efforts but betraying no understanding whatsoever about what this role has entailed. The man has no idea of the numbers of parent's, school cooks and kids I have talked too, the number of school dinners I have eaten and the sheer volume of emails asking for help with school meals I have responded to. But it's not about me.

I am bitterly disappointed with the direction this government is headed in. I am worried sick that they will undo all the great achievements we made under the last government and that our poorest children will once again be made to pay the price of "savings" through crap food.

Finally, I put up a strong fight to get on to the board of The School Food Trust. I am not one of the "usual suspects" that often gets appointed. I did my absolute best to speak up on behalf of free school meal kids. I feel incredibly sad I won't be able to do so in the future. I know that Judy Hargadon and Rob Rees will try their hardest to steer the Trust through troubled waters and I am heartened that Pru Leith will be returning but these are worrying times

Sunday, July 3, 2011

High Lawn Primary taking "The Apprentice" approach to school dinners

Here is a Merton primary school dinner I ate last week. I have just been told that High Lawn Primary are setting yr 5 the task of designing a new school dinner menu. Please visit their class blog and give them some ideas and suggestions. I wonder if they know about nutritional standards and the need to balance the menu over a 3 week cycle?

Below is a presentation I have given about the history of school dinners