A ponder over school dinners should offer food for thought

19th October 2018, 12:00am
Magazine Article Image
Tes Editorial

Share

A ponder over school dinners should offer food for thought

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/ponder-over-school-dinners-should-offer-food-thought

Ah, school dinners. Big portions of pie and mash, hotpot or spam fritters, followed by a jam roly poly doused in custard. Right? Sadly, only if you're living in the 1980s.

Lunchtime at school has come a long way from those days of culinary delight, writes Lisa Jarmin. Trays of home comforts were replaced with turkey twizzlers and spaghetti hoops in the 90s, until Jamie Oliver made every child's nightmare a reality and banished them from the kitchen for good. Now, we serve "fresh and nutritious" food.

Reception and Year 1 pupils are entitled to the meals for free, and many older children do prefer a hot meal over a packed lunch. But the question is: are school dinners really benefiting pupils?

After speaking to parents and teachers, Jarmin found that the issue is slightly stickier than we thought…

In some schools, little notice is given to how much kids actually eat. A meal of lasagne, garlic bread, vegetables, fruit and an oat cookie can quickly become a mouthful of sweetcorn, a bite of garlic bread and a cookie. So a healthy menu, but with the majority of the healthy food ending up in the bin.

And staff doing a Miss Trunchbull and forcing children to eat something they don't like (GO, BRUCE BOGTROTTER!) isn't the answer either.

Training seems like a good idea, which raises a question: do we share CPD with lunchtime staff? It appears the answer in some cases is a resounding no. We need more training and support for non-teachers in schools.

On top of all of that, we're depriving kids of one of life's simplest pleasures: treacle sponge/spotted dick/chocolate cake (hungry, yet?) and custard. One thing's for sure, they need to be put back on the menu ASAP.

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Register for free to read more

You can read two more articles on Tes for free this month if you register using the button below.

Alternatively, you can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

Already registered? Log in

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Subscribe to read more

You can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters