Friday, December 2, 2011

The fight to keep nutritional standards begins

Below is the letter I had published in the Guardian:

Click here -( it is second letter down)

I've had the most fantastic responses from Jamie Oliver's team, LACA and the Children's Food Campaign.

Whilst the School Food Trust agrees with most of my sentiments they are keen to collect evidence before starting a campaign. I have huge respect for the Trust but I think their logic is flawed and that their position is highly dangerous.

Firstly, we already know what happens when minimum nutritional standards are removed. The abolishing of these standards in 1980 led directly to appalling quality school meals. We certainly have plenty of evidence already to support this position.

Secondly, given how recently new academies have been released from the standards it is highly unlikely we will find much evidence of degeneration yet. However just because they are keeping largely to the standards now is no guarantee that they will do so 6 months, a year, 2 years from now. I am worried that a report saying that by and large the academies are keeping to the standards you will be effectively undermining the case for any school to be held to nutritional standards? I could well imagine the government using a report to make such a case.

I am concerned that Headteachers are facing very difficult financial decisions. Just last Friday we learned that music education faces a 27% budget reduction. Faced with this sort of news I am worried that some heads may well be tempted to make catering arrangements that allow them to make money from their school canteens by stocking confectionery and other items we were so pleased to see the back of.

I still believe that this government is using the academies issue to engineer the demise of the standards.


Joy Stevenson said...

I can imagine how devastating it has been. I'm glad to see you haven't lost your spirit! Best wishes and all good things

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