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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
School meal proposals: Your views
Children eating school dinner
The government is set to reveal tough guidelines on the nutritional value of school meals in England.

Read an earlier section of your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Both parents and children need educating on the right foods to eat
Mike, UK
As a teacher in a secondary school where the vending machines were removed, there followed a dramatic improvement in the children's behaviour. They were no longer choc full of sugar and artificial chemicals. Research has proven that a healthy diet can have an effect on children's behaviour but it is wrong of the government just to think the problem will go away by banning junk food in schools. Both parents and children need educating on the right foods to eat. Healthy home cooked meals don't cost the earth (90% of the time they are cheaper than the processed microwave rubbish) nor do they have to take long to make. I can usually cook one from start to finish, including all the preparation, in 20 min.
Mike, UK

I'm fed up with hearing about it, let kids have a say in what they want at school. It's the only chance they get to eat what they want and it's up to the parents to make sure their dinner meals at home are a healthy option.
Elton Johnson, Dereham, Norfolk

I'd like to see not only healthy food, but also more attention paid to food intolerances like dairy and nut allergies. Whilst Jamie Oliver has achieved nothing short of a miracle against red tape (thank you, Jamie), children on a restricted diet are still faced with very little choice.
Peter, London, UK

You can't prohibit certain food groups
Laura, London, UK
I think it is a ridiculous ban as it will give children an unhealthy relationship with food. You can't prohibit certain food groups - kids must be educated that a bit of everything in reason is a healthy diet. As soon as you say something is bad, they'll want it more. Eating disorders may also become a knock-on effect of this outrageous suggestion by Kelly.
Laura, London, UK

When I was at school, everyone had school dinners, and it was a set menu. Meat and vegetables with fruit or a hot pudding for dessert. And it was a matter of like it or lump it! But the meals were hot, freshly prepared on the premises from fresh ingredients and did not contain pre-cooked foods or reformed meats of any kind! For most children, it was the only decent meal they had all day! I agree with others. If all the children get at home is burgers and chips, that is what they will expect to eat at school.
Jo, Berkshire, UK

It's an interesting piece of social engineering, but dangerous. How long before parents are banned from allowing kids to eat foods the government deem unhealthy? How long before our weekly shop is computer-analysed at the checkout and we're prevented from buying it unless it's deemed acceptable to Mr Blair?
Neil Tonks, Leicestershire, UK

A really nice idea in theory. However, as a secondary school teacher I have already seen the first signs of how pupils are planning to 'get round' this ban. Chocolate and sweet 'dealers' are already emerging!
Dave, UK

Are chocolate bars and crisps to be banned from packed lunches? Junk food is a multi million pound growing market segment that is not going to go into decline by a school ban. In moderation it's tasty and satisfying, not harmful. Nutritional education and awareness will help young adults make informed dietery choices.
Adrian Nicholls, UK

After their junk food lunch children are less well behaved and less likely to learn
Brian Powell, Newcastle, Staffs
As I teacher I totally agree with the ban and it is long overdue. It has been clear for years that after their junk food lunch children are less well behaved and less likely to learn. Today's children are so unhealthy. As a keep fit runner of 54 years I should not beat every pupil in school on distance events but I do!
Brian Powell, Newcastle, Staffs

I am an expat living in Germany. When I visit the UK, I cannot believe how fat/obese people in the UK have become! When I go to the supermarkets I also cannot believe how much pre-packaged junk is for sale in the form of ready meals, frozen rubbish, sweets and crisps etc. It's not just kids but whole families that need re-educating to eat fresh healthy food.
David, Munich, Germany

Hi time this was banned. Schools (especially for young children) are temporary carers to whom parents trust the welfare of their children - this responsibility comes over any profit making incentives to sell junk food. This attitude should extend to campus university canteens where the food is usually equally atrocious.
Munir, Guildford

Rather than giving children the knowledge and understanding to make an informed choice about their diet, the government seeks to impose healthy eating on students. Its about time that diet and cooking was taught in school from a very early age.
Colin Cheesman, Abergavenny, Gwent

There seems to be a culture amongst secondary school pupils that it is 'not cool' to eat in the school canteen so many pupils head to local supermarkets/ shops etc for food. If every pupil was made to stay in school to eat lunch I suspect they would have to build a huge new canteen to accommodate them! Maybe we should do as they do in Germany where 2 of my daughters visited last year - school starts at 7.30 a.m. and pupils go home for lunch when school finishes at 1.30-2.00pm This way only parents can be blamed for their children's poor diets.
Geraldine Evans, St Andrews

Schools have been fighting a losing battle to get children to eat healthy foods for years, but if all they get at home is fish fingers/ burger/chips etc presenting something different will always be problematic! Who will enforce the healthy eating? Will school heads be prosecuted if crisps are found on the school site?!
Robert Quayle, Whitehaven

Parents at the moment have no control on what the older children do
Jean Jones, Stockport
In my son's high school, it is only years 7 and 8 who have to stay in school, the rest are free to go out at lunchtime. They mainly snack on canned drinks, chips and sweets so compulsory changes would benefit them in the long run, surely. Parents at the moment have no control on what the older children do.
Jean Jones, Stockport, Cheshire

Down here in Cornwall our school children naturally eat Cornish pasties most days - the vending machines are usually stocked full of them. This stems from the days when the local kids were trained up for the tin mines. Does Ruth Kelly - with her fancy ways - think she can interfere with a centuries old tradition like this? Well I can tell her that the Jethro's and Demelza's of places like Tintagel, Mousehole, Newquay and St Ives say "never"!
Izaak Payne, Tintagel, Cornwall

I am astounded anyone has criticised this. Everyone shouted that the government did nothing, yet now they have stepped in they are still wrong. You cannot legislate for people leaving school to buy their own snacks but this is where parents must step in - why have children got so much spare cash each day?
Helen, East Grinstead

Roast potatoes covered in a gel to avoid bruising
Robert Clark, Ipswich
My mother and my grandmother were both school cooks. When my grandmother was head cook 40 years ago all food was prepared freshly every day. Potatoes were peeled and mashed and meat was cut. My mother left after being forced to serve pre-made food. Orange tinted mash to increase time it would stay edible. Roast potatoes covered in a gel to avoid bruising in transport. "Reformed" meat. The salt content is some of these goods is incredible. If 40 years ago they were able to have healthy food on the menu why change it? It took my grandmother and three others four hours to prepare meals for 100 students. It now takes eight staff. Somebody screwed up somewhere.
Robert Clark, Ipswich England

My son has just started junior school at a local private school. Since starting he has had chips with every meal. If he goes for a sandwich he says he is only allowed one. He has to choose to go on the cold or hot counter before looking at the food on offer. Why is it so difficult to feed children well?
Mark Howarth, Wakefield

I went to a school with a tuck shop and it didn't do me any harm. But then, I had sensible parents. If parents weren't so obsessed with handing over all their responsibilities to the government and not taking responsibility for anything their kids do then maybe we wouldn't be in this ridiculous situation.
James King, Coventry, UK

The only way to stop younger children eating crisps and chocolate bars at lunch times is for parents to stop putting them into lunch boxes. However the biggest problem has to be children in secondary schools whose kitchens serve food MacDonalds would be proud of.
Kelly, Hampshire, UK

One of my close friends discovered the equivalent of today's vending machine while she was at school and has been having weight-related problems since. While there may be other contributing factors, there is no doubt that her early encounters with a constant supply of junk food within her school ground set the ball rolling for 25 years of being overweight.
EL, London, UK

This is typical from a government that is continually desperate to make political capital.
Dr S Patel, London

I recall having very nice freshly cooked school meals back in the 1970s. Then there was a change in policy in the 1980s and we were shifted onto "fast food" of burgers, hot dogs and chips. I used to take my dinner money and go out to the hgh sreet and buy decent fresh food and fruit. 20 years later, it's come full circle - what took them so long?
Ken, Athens, Greece

What is the alternative item to be stored in these vending machines?
Ranjan, Leeds
Has anyone thought of what is the alternative item to be stored in these vending machines? Most healthy items (vegetables?) are highly perishable and will not be appealing. Sweets need to be a treat, not food. Maybe the government could think of increasing tax on unhealthy items so that people buy them only on occasions.
Ranjan, Leeds, UK

These are children are in school not to munch but to learn. Of course they'll still eat crisps, chocolate, fizzy drinks outside of school - but nobody can convince me that preventing them from doing so for six hours is seriously infringing their 'choices' or 'human rights'!
Jen, Hawkwell, UK

Having vending machines in schools gives the impression that we're endorsing them
Adele, UK
Brilliant news! The companies that produce this rubbish already bombard our children with far too much advertising. Having vending machines in schools gives the impression that we're endorsing them. Children can only learn what we teach them, and the eating habits we develop when we're young will affect our health for life.
Adele, UK

It isn't a case of banning chocolate bars, it is about providing healthy meals. Most parents don't mind if their children have a chocolate bar as a snack providing they get a healthy main meal. It says something about this government that things only start to happen when a television personality gets involved!
Paul S, Essex

Excellent news - my boy has just gone from a primary school that had a very high standard of food, to a senior school that serves only junk... after only three weeks there is a clear difference in his concentration. I hope this work continues. Thank you Jamie Oliver and the Department for listening and acting.
Becky, Kent

The "no sugary drinks" could be misleading as it would exclude diet drinks that are loaded with other foul chemicals rather than plain sugar.
Al, Twells, UK

Yes, feed the kids fruit, salads, water. When it comes to studying, don't be surprised when they don't have any energy to do the brain work. When it comes to exams, I give my kids chocolates and fatty foods for the energy. They always do well!
Z Hussain, Bromley

Laughable. When I go shopping at 8am there are loads of school kids milling around the supermarket buying sweets, chocolate etc. so I imagine when this legislation comes in there'll just be more.
Helen, Aylesbury

This will go some way to help with behavioural problems
David, Surrey
This will go some way to help with behavioural problems, closely associated with elevated intake of sugar! Good move I say!
David, Surrey

I am a teacher in Japan who eats school lunch everyday. The government needs to take some lessons from the Japanese school lunch system - fresh fish and rice everyday keeps the children healthy - not a chocolate bar in sight!
Roshan, Saitama, Japan

Banning junk food just isn't the answer to the growing problem of obesity within the UK's youth. School dinners account for only one meal a day, and only on week days, too. The impact it will actually have is minimal. Unless parents stop feeding their children junk food at home, and taking them to fast food places, this problem is going to continue to grow, no matter what the government regulates within school.
Nick, Surrey, UK

It is ridiculous, kids will just bring in junk food and cafeteria companies will go down. Also, at our local school, healthy meals have been introduced but they are really expensive and PE has gradually been cut from 3hrs a week two years ago to only 1 hour a week now. Surely this needs to be addressed or else the government is just shooting itself in the foot
Daniel Wood, Warrington UK

How about some comments from the consumers - the school children? It's well & good all us adults spouting how great it is to have healthy food for kids and ban all junk food at school and in vend machines. I remember the tuck shops & corner shops doing a sterling business selling sweets, chocolates, crisps etc to us schoolchildren, now the adults - where did the money come from - the parents. It won't change. This smacks of punishment & panic for votes rather than education, good funding and reasoned approach.
Sandy Montgomery, Sussex

I was mildly amused to see that someone thinks the ban is an 'infringement of children's human rights'. What utter nonsense. Children should be brought up with good, sound values in all aspects of life; that doesn't mean giving them the same rights as adults. They don't have the experience or willpower to handle temptation. Parents have a duty to provide proper guidance. Children certainly don't have a right to junk food.
June, Birmingham, UK

Vending companies will adapt to offer healthy snacks in order to profit
Damian Allinson, Leeds, UK
This is definitely good news. I hope people have the courage to implement the plan. Parents - you are responsible for your child's health in and out of school. Vending companies will adapt to offer healthy snacks in order to profit.
Damian Allinson, Leeds, UK

It's a step in the right direction, but as others have pointed out, there are many other avenues available to children for their junk food fix. If we want to stop the tide of obesity that is engulfing the western world, another step could be to introduce mandatory physical education as part of the daily national school curriculum.
Sanjay, London

This is great news for children and in the long term great news for the UK. Bad eating habits won't be learnt in schools which will, in time, lead to adults with healthier eating habits (and thus increase the demand for healthy food). It's frustrating how much food being sold in this country is unhealthy, but people keep on buying it because they're used to it. Hopefully greater demand for healthy food options will lead to an increase in the supply.
Rudi, London, UK

It is a good idea to take away the vending machines but what will replace them? There needs to be a substitute!
Antionette, Mitcham, Surrey

I remember years ago, my father, who worked as a school dental officer, being horrified when the school installed a Kit-Kat vending machine a few yards along the corridor from his surgery. He told the head teacher that a condom machine would have been a better use of space.
Alastair, Reading

Well it's not worth much if they then get home and are fed turkey twizzlers and chips is it? And don't use the 'fussy eater' excuse either as all kids would be - what is in front of them should be eaten and that's that. That's how it was for me and I am grateful to my mother for ensuring that I now (at 30) have healthy teeth and bones and am the correct weight for my height. Higher tax for those that are overweight through gluttony would make a huge difference.
Marie, Surrey, UK

I bet they don't ban junk food in the houses of parliament
Dave Pashby, Leeds, UK
What rot. Parents should be leading on healthy eating, then children follow. And if children eat healthily at home why shouldn't they have a chocolate biscuit at lunch time. Parents will just move more to packed lunches, and feed the children what they will eat. How long until health food is enforced for hospital patients. I bet they don't ban junk food in the houses of parliament.
Dave Pashby, Leeds, UK

My daughter (9 on Saturday) gets a choice of food for school dinners, and is proud of her preference for the 'healthy option' when available. But she gets good food at home (my husband is a former chef) and when she watched "Jamie's School Dinners" with us she was startled at how few children could identify fruits and vegetables.
Megan, Cheshire UK

Yet more well intentioned and futile social engineering! Everyone knows junk food is bad - but they still eat it. Banning it from schools means children will get it somewhere else. Surely the role of a democratic government is to supply information and then let people (even children) make their own choices - even bad choices, or are we all happy with a government that compels us to follow the behaviour it decrees as correct. Where do we draw that line, what next, compulsory walking to school, forced attendance at citizenship classes?
Ken Charman, Wokingham, UK

I think that it won't solve the problem at all. The roots are in what we show to kids, namely having a quick lunch with sandwich, crisps and a fizzy drink at our computer screen, or even worse, no lunch at all. What kind of example do we set? Let's have a decent break where adults and kids can also sit down and relax at lunch.
David, Bradford

It would be nice if the government had some original ideas of their own rather than relying on a TV chef
Nick, Reading, UK
Well of course it's a good idea. However, it would be nice if the government had some original ideas of their own rather than relying on a TV chef to point out the glaringly obvious. Perhaps, now they're being fed properly, the government could look at educating them properly or does that require another celebrity to inject some common sense into the government's thinking first?
Nick, Reading, UK

It's pointless to ban junk food, most schools are near town centres and all the children will do is sneak out and buy the food there instead. Or bring it in with them on the way to school. They need to work on making the healthier food more appealing to kids. Banning something makes it far more interesting and attractive and will just increase the amount the children eat.
Kaz Winton, Devizes, Wiltshire

Jamie Oliver's plan included a cookery boot camp for under-trained dinner staff. Do the Education Secretary's plans include staff retraining costs or will they simply introduce the ban and leave the ill-equipped staff to get on with it?
Lee, Crewe

My son started school this September and his school meals are excellent. The main problem with school meals is that they are outsourced to companies who need to make a profit, instead of being run by the LEA. Being a chef I know that if these companies are getting 50p per child per day to feed them and make a profit, that the profit will come first. We need the LEA to take control away from outsourced companies and into a non profit organisation so the child can get the best possible.
David Shaw, Bradford

Freedom of choice should not be an issue here. Junk food is bad, especially when over-indulged in. Can there really be a single parent out there who would take risks with their child's health just to demonstrate their right to chose.
Ken, Bournemouth UK

When I was at school (only 10 years ago) there was no vending machines. How did we cope? My mum packed me an apple and piece of home made cake in my bag every day, and in the autumn we were allowed to pick our own apple from their trees. We did however take a packed lunch as the school dinners were unhealthy and being brought up on healthy food, were bland and unappealing. We also had to have a permit, requiring a letter from our parents and a valid reason to be allowed out of school at lunch and break times.
Liz, Leeds

Who is going to check the content of the lunch boxes?
Kevin, Bracknell, UK
A good idea, in theory. As a school governor, I have seen a decline in the number of children having school meals. I feel that parents will give in, and send children with lunch boxes full of the junk food which is going to be banned. Who is going to check the content of the lunch boxes? Also, as a governor of a school without a kitchen, which has to use an outside caterer how do we monitor the food content? Governors are volunteers, most of whom work during the day, and spend their evenings working hard on all the other government initiatives. I agree with the motives, but we give up enough of our time and shouldn't be given yet another job.
Kevin, Bracknell, UK

Although I agree children should be encouraged to eat more healthily I think that these measures are tantamount to an infringement of human rights. Who on earth do the Labour government believe they are banning certain foods when clearly the correct way forward is to educate children to make their own choices? If you tell an 8-year-old child that they are not allowed crisps for example then I guarantee they will eat them at every opportunity outside school. A free society is based on individual choice and it is the responsibility of government to ensure people have all the education and facts to make the correct one not to just impose their opinions without consultation. What next? A ban on alcohol or tobacco sales? I think not - too much tax revenue there.
Nick, London

It's great that finally the standard of school dinners is improving, but I can't help notice that yet again lazy parents are more than willing to blame schools and the government, when they are taking no action themselves. If they can't trust their children to do what is right by the time they are going to school, then it's too late anyway. Parents - take some responsibility for a change!
Simon, Oxford, England

Great news - and not before time. I have nothing against vending machines, only the contents within! Let's have some imagination here; most kids will eat something healthy. Stock up the machines with unsalted nuts, sunflower seeds, vegetable crisps cooked in olive oil, packs of raisins, apples, pears, bananas, grapes, bananas etc. And chilled mineral water or dilute fruit juices - delicious!
Susie, Lincoln, UK

Though the ban is a good thing I don't think it will actually help. Parents that cared about their children's nutrition were already feeding them healthy food, while those that allowed their children to eat junk will continue to do so through lunch-boxes and meals at home. It's the parents that need to be taught not the children.
Nicola, Reading

A school's purpose is to educate: why shouldn't that extend to the palate?
John Lancashire, Reading
Pukka! My son's school has just switched caterers and the new lunches wouldn't be out of place in a restaurant. Astonishingly, the boys now look forward to lunchtime. A school's purpose is to educate: why shouldn't that extend to the palate?
John Lancashire, Reading, UK

History will record that for the first time the government began to dictate to the people what was good for them and what they should eat and that the people of this country just accepted it. What will it be next? Banning certain books because their ideas are perceived to be potentially harmful? The role of government is to run the country, it is not the role of government to dictate to the individual.
Mike Regan, Fareham, England

I have three children ages 2, 8 and 10 and they have a healthy balanced diet. The main thing that I am trying to teach then is moderation. They can have crisps, chocolates and sweets but in moderation. We need to teach this to all children. An excess of any food is bad for you.
Claire Holliman, Bramley, Hants

As a school dinner lady working in a primary school and middle school on introducing healthy school meals in September I have found that children are complaining what is being served up and therefore school dinner numbers have decreased and more pack lunches are being brought into school. Also by putting up the price of school dinners an extra 10p that it may put parents of paying it. Staff are having to be cut and extra work put onto other employees within the kitchen so therefore standards are being dropped as more work has to be done within so many hours with less staff.
Mrs S Baugh, Wolverhampton

Thank goodness the government has taken this step. We now need to educate the parents in healthy eating so they don't slowly kill their children by feeding them salt laden/additive laden junk. While we're at it, why not tackle the manufacturers that produce this rubbish so that they sell food which is beneficial to children and adults?
V Darlington, Sudbury Hill, Middlesex

This is a very positive step. On a recent tour of a secondary school as a prospective parent, I was dismayed to see vending machines selling fizzy drinks and confectionary. My children's primary school has recently made a great effort to introduce a healthy eating policy, giving careful guidelines about snacks that can be taken in each day. It would be a terrible shame for all this good work to be undone as soon as they move up to the next school.
Jane Bartlett, Brighton & Hove, England

In the US children bring their own "snacks" from home for morning (or afternoon) break. In addition, a nutritious hot lunch is served by the school with 2-3 choices. Children also have the option to bring a packed lunch from home. Vending machines are not permitted in the schools. Parents would never stand to have their children's health compromised for profit. Furthermore, children in the US never leave school grounds for any reason. Why in the world are British children permitted to leave school to go to the corner store to buy a snack?
J. Speak, Doylestown, P A

I fully support this ban. Vending machines are a major source of concern amongst parents. My son has just started at a state school with excellent and good value in house catering. I know it can be done. For the first time he has forsaken packed lunches and now wants the school hot meals.
Lynne Porter, Cricklade England

And about time. The only people that complain about this are the people who have a "fussy eater"! Kids are only fussy eaters if they are trained to be. Introducing new foods at an early stage stops all this. Isn't it frustrating though that you can go out for a nice meal with great food - only to look at the menu and see that the kids menu. Why not just serve smaller portions. You don't see our European counter parts feeding sub standard food into their kids!
Graham Dodgson, Silsden, West Yorkshire

It is a fallacy to think that children need choice
Jonathan, Edinburgh, Scotland
My son went to school in Spain for a while. There they had no almost choice about what to eat, the food served was healthy, and the pupils had to eat most of it. This forced him to try various things he normally refused, and he realised that some of them were quite nice. It is a fallacy to think that children need choice!
Jonathan, Edinburgh, Scotland

I have two toddlers and so am hopeful that food standards will have improved by the time they get to school. However fruit and vegetables can still be very low quality with next to no nutritional value. I would like to see a move to locally produced organic where possible. Also teach the kids why certain foods are good or bad for you rather than just telling them what not to eat and giving no reasons.
David Briggs, Bristol

I set up a healthy vending company for schools 8 months ago and now have a few machines around the UK. The snacks are low and low to moderate in sugar, salt and saturated fat in accordance with government guidelines. It is difficult to get healthy vending machines into schools because the schools are worried that the healthy products won't sell as well as the unhealthy products. We know from experience that they do.
Justin Wride, Cheltenham, England

The key is to have good quality, nutritious meals served at lunchtime and wider education to parents, many of whom still pour junk food down their children's throats when they get home, because it's 'quick'. Banning vending machines? Daft - most schools have sweet shops on the door steps! Bring back student-run tuck shops at morning break; they're cheaper, children don't have to leave school premises and they teach a modicum of business sense to those who volunteer to run them.
Sean, Bath, UK

Children cannot be expected to learn when their little bodies and minds are struggling because of poor nutrition
Janice Hopkins, Windsor, UK
Great news! Children cannot be expected to learn when their little bodies and minds are struggling because of poor nutrition. It's so obvious. Why has it taken so long?
Janice Hopkins, Windsor, UK

Improving the quality of ingredients is only half the equation. They need to be prepared and cooked to acceptable standards by staff who are not only properly trained, but who also really care about making good food. My son complains that the vegetables are mushy and tasteless and other food is often bland. I'm not wasting hard-earned money on feeding him pap - all children deserve better.
Ike, Stroud, UK

This could turn out to be a partially bad decision. They've missed the fact that schools make considerable money from allowing 'junk food' vending machines on their premises. The government needs to indicate how it will help cover the resulting shortfall in extra cash from this decision.
Patrick Leahy, Churchill College, Cambridge

School meals should reflect and promote current healthy eating guidelines. Providing high fat, salt or sugar meals and snacks less frequently, perhaps once or twice each week instead of all day every day.
Mark, Staffordshire, England

Excellent! From watching the Jamie Oliver program I'm fairly certain there will be a few whinging children (and parents too) but finally for those parents who do try to teach their children about healthy eating, all will not be lost when their child begins school. And parents, please don't rebel by packing your kids lunch instead, full of sweeties!
Sophie, Crewe, Cheshire

Thank goodness for a bit of common sense, at last. I find it incredible seeing the rubbish people (in general) are willing to allow their children, with developing minds and bodies, to consume rather than spend more time and thought (and perhaps money) on food preparation.
Robert, Worthing

This whole eating issue is part of the wider issue of parents without the skills, the will or the ability to bring up their children properly. How long do we have to wait before parenting skills and child care, including nutritional issues, are an integral part of the school curriculum?
Peter Smith, Crewe, Cheshire

I am all for preventing the sale of high salt, high sugar, high fat foods in schools. However, do be aware of the dangers of no sugar fizzy drinks. The additives usually mean there is virtually no nutritional value and the acidity inhibits the absorption of calcium into the bones.
Moira Hoffman, Bolton, England

This is most certainly a step in the right direction. You only have to look around you in some schools today to realize that the children's eating habits are far from ideal. This move will only have positive results.
Bijou Kalayil, London, England

As a New Zealander I was appalled when my teacher friends told me of the unhealthy diets that most parents allow their children to eat. One of the aspects of this issue that seems to be over looked as the role that parents have in this problem. Do parents care enough about their children to teach them the benefits of health eating and a healthy life style? I would say that most kids that eat unhealthy food also have parents that eat unhealthy food.
Anand Reddy, London, UK

Bah Humbug! What is wrong with a bit of junk food now and again? What about informed choice? No tuck shops? I used to look forward with glee to my mid morning chocolate snacks! It's political correctness gone mad!
Paul Scrafton, Sunderland, UK

Although I regret that it has come to a ban to solve a problem I am pleased that an effort is being made to address a serious problem, I am also pleased that it serves to undermine the insidious corporate marketing/sponsorship which is creeping into our schools. I hope that some real imagination goes into providing attractive healthy food so that not only are children unable to access junk food but they will develop a preference for healthy food.
Peter Wray, Northwich

As a father of two young children, one of which started school a few weeks ago, I am delighted that junk food will be banned. If the children won't eat school dinners, some parents may revert to unhealthy food in lunch boxes instead. Stopping children bringing unhealthy food in their lunch boxes will be a more difficult problem to stop.
John Humphreys, Winsford, England

Our school canteen now provides healthy food but it is at least twice as expensive as the unhealthy options
JBS, Portsmouth, UK
I am not so sure if this will work with children. Many of the children in my school eat healthily as our school canteen now provides healthy food but it is at least twice as expensive as the unhealthy options and now people are bring in their own unhealthy chocolate bars etc. I think this will only work if they make health eating a universal thing not just in schools. Perhaps higher taxes on junk foods?
JBS, Portsmouth, UK

I'm very pleased that this is going ahead but the strong issue of where our food comes from should also me on the Government's menu. Teach children how food is prepared and where it comes from and we might wake up the appalling suffering most animals suffer before slaughter. Or is it not politically right to say to a child that they are eating a chemically fed 6 week old chick dressed as a chicken?
Richard Morris, Essex

Is this the 'no choice' agenda on food? Pupils will soon see the hypocrisy of adults (teachers and parents) eating sugar or salt ladened food. Education is about informed choice, not prescription'.
Mike Steer, St Austell, Cornwall

Yes - ban it! Teachers have a hard enough job without making it harder by allowing kids to go hyper on sugar all day long.
Alex, Camberley, England

My children are 6, 5 and 2. I am very glad these proposals are to be introduced. It cannot happen quickly enough. There is already a very high standard of food at my local infant school but I did have concerns about the 'tuck shop' at the junior and senior schools. During holidays, the kids also attend OFSTED registered play schemes and their 'tuck' is appalling. Most drinks are bright red or blue and they only sell sweets. Would this spread to these kind of operations too?
Sharon Hadland, Eastbourne, East Sussex

An excellent idea in principal but the profiteering supermarkets will be rubbing their hands in glee. Parents will no doubt give into their children's demands and just buy the fizzy drinks, chocolate bars and crisps from them instead to keep the kids quiet.
Natalie, Birmingham, UK

That's all good and well, but in my school it was a 2 minute walk across the road to the local newsagents where he stocked the biggest selection of chocolate...and a 10 minute walk to the local town where there were at least 4 different fish and chip restaurants. It's a good idea, and it'll stop the government getting in trouble, but really it's more underlying than that. More PT I say! More sport, more grass pitches, more fun!
Stuart, Edinburgh, Scotland

It's not before time. I only hope the same will be adopted in this country.
Kenneth Gray, Rockingham, Western Australia

I know children have to have a balanced diet, but we send out children to school to be taught, not to go through their lunch boxes and what happens if you have a fussy eater or a child who is allergic to the food on the school menu?
Nicolina Stangoni, Taunton, Somerset

I am a father of 2 boys aged 2 and 4 and I definitely feel this is the way forward. How can we encourage our children to eat healthily when schools are serving most of the foods we discourage in our homes? This is good news for parents.
Martin Roberts, Abingdon, England

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