Food agency to check school meals in England meet standards | School meals
Food Standards Agency inspectors are to check school meals in England to make sure they meet national standards, as part of the government’s plans to tackle obesity in its forthcoming upgrade white paper Wednesday.
The white paper is also expected to include a new push to teach students about healthy eating and food preparation, with all students required to leave school knowing how to prepare and cook at least six basic recipes, as well as adopting measures championed by the famous chef. Jamie Oliver.
The move comes amid fears that schools in some parts of the country will struggle to meet national school food standards that have been in place since 2015, such as including no more than two servings of fried food in school meals. school lunches each week.
There is also evidence that childhood obesity has increased dramatically during the Covid pandemic, which has seen physical education, school sports and other activities for children canceled or restricted.
“Obesity has worsened due to Covid. This has been particularly severe in the most deprived areas. Many of our most deprived children carry a legacy of lockdown around their waists which affects their life chances said a Whitehall source.
“No one was deliberately wrong, but we need to make it easier for everyone involved in feeding our children.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said he applauded the change in the government’s ‘snobbish attitude’ towards children learning skills, but added: ‘We are wary of the idea that another agency is doing checks on schools on top of all the other agencies that are already doing it. And if there’s a goal to teach every high school student how to cook, it’s hard to see where this could now be integrated into an already overloaded program.
A pilot scheme to be announced in the white paper will mean the agency will start inspecting school food in a small number of local authorities later this year. The aim is to improve ways to help schools comply with existing standards.
There will also be new funding to train secondary teachers in cooking and food preparation, with £5million over three years to train one teacher from each state secondary and create lessons. The government wants every child to leave school knowing how to cook six recipes.
The white paper also adopted a policy promoted by Oliver and Bite Back 2030, the charity the chef co-founded to push for better diets for young people. Last month, Oliver and leaders of 600 public schools asked each school to publish annual food reports showing progress in meeting health and nutrition standards.
According to the white paper, reporting of dietary arrangements in schools will initially be voluntary, but the intention is for it to become mandatory. Principals should also receive additional training on their responsibilities for improving food standards.
A recent report by Bite Back highlighted the different meal choices offered in schools across the country, with students on free school meals reporting they had fewer choices.
But the white paper is not meant to improve funding for children on free school meals, which includes all infants up to year two. The government is paying £2.34 for each child’s food a day, only slightly more than a decade ago despite rising prices.