June 2010 Archives

Ofsted: healthy school meals not reaching the poor

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ofsted_logo.gifLow income families are struggling pay for healthy school meals for their children while a third of schools are still failing to comply with nutritional guidelines, according to a report by schools watchdog Oftsed.

The findings provide more ammunition for critics of the coalition Government's decision to quash plans to extend free school meal provision to all primary pupils living below the poverty line, not just those whose parents are unemployed.

Ofsted inspectors found that in some cash-strapped families, siblings were forced to take it in turns to have nutritious lunches for a week.

Health experts condemn plans to axe extension of free school meals

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Thumbnail image for School-canteen-Rex.jpgAn alliance of health professionals have expressed "deep concern" over the Government's decision to axe plans to extend free school meals provision to half a million primary school children from low-income families.

The Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Royal College of Physicians have written a letter to education secretary Michael Gove, condemning the move, according to the Guardian.

School-canteen-Rex.jpgA decision to shelve plans to extend free school meals provision in the UK has been condemned by campaigners against child poverty and food policy pressure group Sustain.

Education secretary Michael Gove announced the decision to mothball the scheme in an open letter to his Labour predecessor Ed Balls last week.

Head of policy at the Child Poverty Action Group, Imran Hussain described the decision as the same as an income-tax hike of £600 a year for a working poor family with two children.

Michael Gove blocks extension of free school meals

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school canteen.jpgSecretary of State for Education Michael Gove has quashed plans made by the last Government to extend the free school meals pilot to a further 600,000 pupils this year.

The LibDem-Conservative coalition Government's future plans for free school meals pilots were outlined in a letter published yesterday from Gove to his Labour party opposite, Ed Balls, in which Gove said he is sympathetic to the arguments for extending eligibility.

Is the School Food Trust still really necessary?

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Rob-Rees.jpgAfter a £1m cut to its budget, the School Food Trust is coming under increasing pressure to justify its existence in face of a widespread perception that its work is done. Neil Gerrard reports.

Did you ever get duffed up by the school bully and have your dinner money stolen? Then spare a thought for the School Food Trust (SFT), which had a bit of a run in with one of the big kids in the Westminster playground last week - Chancellor George Osborne.

The £1m that Osborne snatched off the SFT was actually part of its marketing and communications budget for 2011, leaving it with a total of just £7.5m for the coming year.

But things could get harder still as some of the other kids begin to play rough with the SFT too - and they want to see it with more than just a wedgie and its head down the toilet.


Vic Laws of AVL Consulting was quick to advocate a total closure of the quango when the news of the funding cut came out. He argues it has now served its purpose. Having already established a series of food- and nutrient-based standards for school lunches, the body is little more than a glorified marketing and data collection company, according to Laws. And the millions in its budget would better serve by being channelled into whatever follows the School Lunch Grant, a £240m fund which runs out in 2011.


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