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Telling schools to tackle obesity is hard to swallow

Is it really down to schools to solve all of society’s problems, asks Jonathan Simons, head of education at thinktank Policy Exchange

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Nick Gibb likes to tell a story about the number of representations he’s received as schools minister. What a lot of them have in common is “the ask”. This is a standard approach – you’re going to see the minister, and no doubt you have fascinating things to tell them. Just one thing. Would they consider doing x? And all too often, “the ask” is “would you put topic x in the curriculum?”

Mr Gibb points out that these asks are almost all rejected, on the grounds that it is not for schools to address these issues. He could also add that given the majority of secondaries and a decent chunk of ...

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