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

  • Featured News Labour plans to cap rents to give “Generation Rent” a more secure future

    Labour plans to cap rents to give “Generation Rent” a more secure future

    Ed Miliband has announced plans to cap private sector rents as part of a package of plans to help those living in the expanding private rented sector. The plans are pretty similar to those unveiled before last year’s European and Local elections (which I praised at the time). They’re also similar to the rent pledges pushed by Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds back in February (which may suggest that the media gives a disproportionate amount of coverage to policies announced by party […]

    Read more →
  • News Tory Minister Eric Pickles compares Labour’s rent plans to bombing of cities

    Tory Minister Eric Pickles compares Labour’s rent plans to bombing of cities

    The Tories spent most of Friday falsely accusing Ed Miliband of saying something that he clearly didn’t saw over Cameron and Libya. And yet this evening one of their own Cabinet ministers has done something far worse of their own free will. Eric Pickles has compared Labour’s plans to make the private rented sector more affordable to the “bombing” of cities: Rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city except for bombing http://t.co/RYjvDO2MhD […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Europe Could Matteo Renzi be a model for a Miliband government?

    Could Matteo Renzi be a model for a Miliband government?

    With the general election drawing ever closer, it is important for the Labour leadership to examine the record of those centre-left governments across Europe that have managed, in the face of considerable economic difficulties, to put their social-democratic principles into practice. Doing so would not only provide a Miliband premiership with worthy models to emulate, but would also enable it to chart a progressive course in office, one that will allow Labour to realise a broad range of social justice […]

    Read more →
  • News John Biggs confirmed as Labour candidate for Tower Hamlets Mayoral by-election

    John Biggs confirmed as Labour candidate for Tower Hamlets Mayoral by-election

    After Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman was barred from office and booted out by the courts last week after being found guilty of corruption, it was confirmed that a by-election will take place for the role. The date of that by-election is June 11th, and Labour’s candidate – as expected will be John Biggs (the Labour candidate in the 2014 Mayoral race). Responding to the news, Biggs said: “I am delighted to have been confirmed as Labour’s candidate. Tower Hamlets must now […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Gordon Brown warns of second Scottish referendum risk

    Gordon Brown warns of second Scottish referendum risk

    Gordon Brown has been hitting the campaign trail hard in Scotland over the past few days, and he’s in Elderslie today, backing Shadow Foreign Secretary (and former Brown aide) Douglas Alexander in his Paisley and Renfrewshire East seat. Few would have expected that Alexander’s seat would be on the line a few months ago – or that Brown would play a potentially crucial role in this election – but that’s where things stand today. In a speech this morning, Brown was […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit