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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK
Your views on school dinners
Mike Baker graphic
BBC education correspondent Mike Baker
BBC education correspondent Mike Baker asked, with school food featuring in election manifestos, what can be done to raise standards?

We received many e-mails on the subject. Below is a selection reflecting the range of views.

In Australia at many State primary schools, and doubtless secondary also, the "lunch function" is run by volunteer mothers' clubs on a not-for-profit basis.

Frequently the mums with conscience enough to volunteer are the ones who also care and, although there is plenty of packaged junk for sale, there is also the fresh fruit, fresh sandwich and salad offered.

Maybe you should sack all the commercial food providers and encourage thinking mums to do it. Goodbye Mr Chips!
Colin Burt, Hervey Bay, Australia

Nourishment is the most basic requirement of the ability to learn. Considering their motto was "Education, Education, Education", it is appalling Labour neglected food so badly.
Alex, Edinburgh

I'm glad that school dinners are on the agenda - now maybe Jamie can turn his attention to hospital food. The hospital that I work at has no kitchen. Instead meals are made off-site, frozen, shipped in, then heated up in a microwave before being carted around the wards on heated trolleys.

The smell of the food by the time it arrives is absolutely vile but, as the café for relatives and staff is hugely overpriced many patients have no option but to try to eat it. No wonder patients sometimes become malnourished. It's about time a "celebrity" gets behind this cause, as that seems to be the only way to get a problem fixed in Britain today.
Hannah, UK

Having moved to Burgundy four weeks ago and having two children of primary school age we have been astonished by the attitude to children's lunches here compared to where we lived in the UK, where school lunches weren't an option as the school with 150 children didn't have any catering facilities and there was no option but to take a packed lunch.

Our children attend a rural village school with 44 children. There is a canteen where they are served a three or four-course meal which is freshly prepared on the premises.

There is no fast food or pre-prepared junk, just simple, wholesome food, at a cost of 2.50 euros per day.

The actual cost per meal is more than four euros, which is subsidised by the maire.

I think that it is about time that parents as well as the government started to put their children's health first. How often do you walk down the high street at noon in the UK to see a child walking along eating a packet of crisps, while its parents are talking on an expensive mobile phone or smoking?
Sally Six, Burgundy, France

If you think school meals are an issue - you should try school milk.

Britain is 80% below recommended European baseline benchmark for subsidised school milk provision for the under-11s. Yet there is not a word about the EU school milk subsidy scheme that I can see anywhere in any manifesto.

According to the UN, 74 countries have school milk integrated into their school feeding programmes. The UN arranged for 45 countries to meet last week in China to discuss global school milk uptake - did the British Government attend? No.

But we did. Did you know for example Iran spends $80m a year on school milk provision? Whereas our government hasn't even reinstated the drastic cut backs of 1993 and 1996, when we lost our cheese subsidy and a quarter of our consumption when they withdrew subsidy from secondary schools which caused prices to triple - 250ml could be subsidised to 21p instead its 300ml for 46p in some secondary schools - if it's on offer at all.

All our children are eligible for European subsidy - it's a citizenship right - yet only 20% of primary children are offered 200ml for 14p, which includes refrigeration and cash collection charges.

Good for Jamie for shouting about school meals. Now all we need is a celebrity to get our milk back. The UK has 3.6 million children living in poverty at possible nutritional risk. School milk makes sense.
Stephanie Spiers, Stafford

There is no reason why schools should provide poor choices for lunch. They should be taken off the menu altogether.

If there are only brown bread sandwiches, pasta salad or a mixed vegetable salad on offer, the children won't have the option of chips and burgers.

I used to love the hot lunches provided at school. I remember eating Yorkshire puddings and rich lashings of gravy, followed by banana custard.

Not only will these type of meals provide better nutrition for life, the children will be eating brain food instead of food that is going to go straight to their lungs, heart and waist.
Hallie Follwell, Bromley, Kent






SEE ALSO:
Education election promises
11 Apr 05 |  Issues



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