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Last Updated: Friday February 26 2010 18:32 GMT

Canteens put kids off school meals

Ricky in a school canteen

Ricky investigates school canteens

Bad canteens are the main reason kids don't have healthy school dinners, according to a new report.

A study showed that children are put off canteens because they are often cramped, have long queues and are really noisy.

So Ricky went to meet some pupils to see what they had to say.

One girl had this to say about her canteen: "I don't like the chairs and tables because they're broken and they're old."

And a boy said his canteen was so noisy that he sometimes got a headache.

After this report, officials are worried the massive amount of time, effort and money that's gone into transforming school food over the past five years will be wasted.

The research was carried out for the School Food Trust.

Knives and forks

Children eating school dinners
Children eating school dinners

The trust carried out experiments in some primary and secondary school canteens across England, to see what would make them better for children.

They found that even little improvements can help, such as giving pupils more time to eat their lunch, and giving them proper knives and forks instead of plastic ones.

'Special occasion'

Deputy head teacher Jane Nicholls, from Langley Park Girls School in London, is keen on this approach. Some of the experiments were carried out at her school.

"The small changes we made to the dining room made a huge difference to our pupils and turned lunch into a special occasion where the girls took the time to sit down and really appreciate their food," she said.