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Dine out on stories of school cooking

Kim Ijoyah (11) is in Year 6 at St Francis Primary School, Peckham, south London

I'd give my school dinner 4 out of 10. We can choose if we want to have school dinners. I choose school dinners because most of my friends have them. I don't really like them though.

My school dinners cost Pounds 1 a day. I think that's cheap because you get two sausages, a lot of chips and beans. If you go in first you get less than if you go in last, but you can get salad if you go in first.

Sometimes you can get extra if you ask for more, but other times they say "no it's for the staff". It's wrong if they have a lot extra and they don't give it away.

I don't avoid eating my dinner because if I did I would be starving all day and I have to pay for it. If I don't like something I give it to my friends. I think my school has less money and is becoming poorer because last year we used to have a lot of food and good pudding and now we don't. When it's cold it seems they give us ice-cream for pudding and when it's hot, they give us hot puddings. It should be the other way round.

I think the Government and the headteacher are responsible for school dinners. The dinner ladies who make the food should also be responsible because it's their duty to make sure that the kids get a good dinner.

Most of the dinner ladies are good people. They don't get paid a lot because they do it for only a couple of hours. They are really strict. I don't like it when they treat me like a baby.

I went to a secondary school and they gave you a lot of food. They get a massive pizza but we only get half. You can get a whole meal for 99p, that's cheaper than we pay.

The best thing about school dinners is that you get a cracker and a present at Christmas.

Stephanie Gomes (10) is in Year 6 at Camelot Primary School, Peckham, south London

I have school dinners because I like a hot meal during the winter. Most of the time it's OK and you get good stuff - it's just the odd day or the odd week when you get things that are horrible.

A typical school dinner would be lamb burgers, pizza, chicken drummers with chips. We have a whole table full of salad and vegetables which is quite good. I think school dinners are healthy - if you have salad. The dinner ladies don't keep an eye on how many times we have chips or anything. I'm pleased they don't.

One day I had a double helping of everything just because it was the cook's birthday. That happens only once a year though. We had double pizza, double chips and everything - that was the best school dinner ever.

The worst school dinner I ever had was lamb burger and oily chips where I took a bite and all the oil came out of them, they were all soggy. I went in late one day and all I got was a sausage.

I think the headteacher chooses the menu but I don't think she eats the dinners. If they asked the kids what they want they would cut out all the lamb burgers and soggy chips and mash. I think that everyone would prefer McDonald's or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

We know in advance what we are going to get, which is good because if you don't like it then you can take a packed lunch. I take two packets of crisps and a roll everyday just in case I don't like the dinner. My mum gets a bit annoyed if I don't have a dinner because she is wasting Pounds 1.05.

I don't think they spend enough money on school dinners because if they did, then there would be a good meal every day. It's important for us to have a good meal because that way you can finish off your work and keep up with the class.

I think that school dinners are better now than in the past, like when my teachers were pupils. They've got tomato sauce now.

Children's Express is a programme of learning through journalism for children aged eight to 18. A charity, it provides a news service that promotes the views and investigations of young people

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