Children studying at academies deserve good food too

15th March, 2012 2:27 pm

The moment when Jamie Oliver showed us what actually went in to our children’s school dinners – the infamous Turkey Twizzler – persuaded a nation that we owed our young people better.

At a time when childhood obesity is becoming one of our nation’s most pressing public health problems, Jamie showed the public and politicians that the deregulation of school food was having a disastrous effect.  The quality of food had fallen dramatically, and as a result, so had the number of children eating it.

The improvements to school food introduced by the Labour government, following campaigning by Jamie and organisations like the Children’s Food Campaign (which, to declare an interest, I used to run), have been a success.  More children are eating school food and the quality of the meals has risen enormously.

Leading Tories have always hated the idea of improving school food.  Andrew Lansley floated the idea of getting rid of the school food regulations just after the election, and although the outcry forced him to back down he believes that ensuring children eat well is somehow ‘nanny state’.  Similarly Michael Gove seems to believe that minimum standards for children’s nutrition are part of the ‘bureaucracy’ we should free schools from.

As a result the school food rules do not apply to academies, the school’s directly responsible to Mr Gove.  Although this problem applied to academies set-up under the Labour government this was not a major problem because there were only a few hundred of these at most.  Now a million children study in academies and the Government envisages all schools converting at some point.

This leaves a million children – and more in future – unprotected from junk food in schools and could take us back to the bad old days of Turkey Twizzlers if cuts to school budgets force academies to slim their food budgets.

Children attending academies deserve better.  They should receive the same high quality school food that all other children do.  Well nourished children learn and behave better so national standards for school food should be seen as a cornerstone of our education system and not as part of the bureaucratic burden on schools.

School meals really matter.  For many children they are the most important meal of the day.  With the rise of extended schools more children than ever before get at least two of their daily meals in school. And they have a symbolic importance; because many parents will look to their school to set an example and so think that if their child gets junk food at school it’s OK to have it at home as well.

I urge you to back the SOS school food campaign started by the Children’s Food campaign and backed by the Jamie Oliver Foundation, Local Authority Caterers and a range of other expert groups.  Lets stop the Government undoing one of the success stories of the Labour government and removing the food standards that have done so much to improve school food.

All of our children deserve nothing less.

  • 000a000

    “Leading Tories have always hated the idea of improving
    school food.”

    What a ridiculous and lazy comment to make – I stopped reading this at that
    point.

Latest

  • Comment We can be winning the economic arguments, right now

    We can be winning the economic arguments, right now

    Watching our earnest contenders debating exactly how many pro-business credentials they have to display to make Labour electable makes me almost nostalgic for May 2010. We seem to enjoy wallowing in the self-deprecating, self-pitying comfort zone of defeat, happy to leave the Tories to dismantle our public services (again), while we studiously beat ourselves up in public about Ed’s deficit blankout and Liam’s silly note. We’ve forgotten how on that fateful Thursday evening, no-one was more surprised with that exit […]

    Read more →
  • Comment PMQs Verdict: Harman’s hardened Heathrow stance will pay dividends for Labour down the line

    PMQs Verdict: Harman’s hardened Heathrow stance will pay dividends for Labour down the line

    Harriet Harman’s impressive PMQs form continues unabated. Post-election David Cameron may be in too strong a position to really struggle at the weekly bouts, but where previous Labour leaders would have wilted, Harman comes away with what, on balance, we can probably call a victory. She used her first questions to talk about the terrorists attack in Tunisia last week, and ask the PM about what steps the Government is taking to help victims and their families. As always, there […]

    Read more →
  • News Video Dennis Skinner: “No wonder they call him Dodgy Dave”

    Dennis Skinner: “No wonder they call him Dodgy Dave”

    Today Dennis Skinner took to the Commons floor to ask David Cameron a question about miners’ pensions. He said to that Cameron hasn’t “got the guts to help miners”, arguing “no wonder they call him Dodgy Dave”. Skinner was interrupted by Cameron who made this ageist comment, calling the MP for Bolsover “Jurrasic Park.” This isn’t the first time the PM has directed such a remark at Skinner; in 2012 he had to apologise after calling the Bolsover MP a “dinosaur”. You […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Labour back Heathrow expansion but the party are divided over the issue

    Labour back Heathrow expansion but the party are divided over the issue

    Labour today confirmed they will back Heathrow expansion – but the party are not completely united on the issue. Today the Airports Commission, also known as the Davies Commission, has recommended that a third runway should be built at Heathrow. It was thought the Commission might leave room for expansion to take place at Gatwick. However after three years of investigation, the Commission has concluded that it is “clear and unanimous” that Heathrow is the best place for a new […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Labour call for “annual equal pay checks” to see which companies are paying women less than men

    Labour call for “annual equal pay checks” to see which companies are paying women less than men

    Labour have called for an annual equal pay check to see which British companies are paying women less than men. Tomorrow in an opposition day debate Gloria de Piero, the shadow equalities minister, will say that there needs to be an “annual equal pay check”. She will say that this should be carried out by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). As of next year, companies that employ more than 250 have to publish figures showing the pay gap […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit