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Low-quality food for the chop, vows dinner judge

Renowned cook, restaurateur and food writer Prue Leith has agreed to judge the Best School Dinner category of the TES School Awards, launched this year.

Ms Leith also chairs the School Food Trust, which was set up by the Government and works to drive up the standard of school dinners.

Ms Leith believes the point is "minimum choice and maximum quality". This will get children eating different foods and widening their palette, she said.

"The educational aim should be that by 16 years of age, children understand various cuisines, such as Indian, Italian, and Chinese."

When judging the award for Best School Dinners, she will be looking for a good whole-school approach.

"A school shouldn't just add good food to the menu. There should be lessons on food, on its sustainability, where it comes from, and the many ways you can eat it. This way kids are up for trying new foods," she said.

"Without Jamie Oliver, the Government wouldn't have changed the law on school dinners," she said. "But a lot more can be done. We don't want more money for the School Food Trust, but for resources to go into schools."

To enter the TES Schools Awards visit www.tes.co.uk. The deadline is February 20. The judges will meet in April and winners will be invited to the awards ceremony at London's Hilton Park Lane Hotel in June.

Wanted: winners, pages 30-31.

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