Research corner

"Did school food and nutrient-based standards in England impact on 11- 12-year-olds' nutrient intake at lunchtime and in total diet?" by Spence, S, Delve, J, Stamp, E et al

Plos One, November 2014

When the new national curriculum for England was launched last year, there was much discussion of the new focus on food education - both within design and technology and as part of the School Food Plan. This was the continuation of an educational focus on nutrition that began with the introduction of new school food standards between 2006 and 2009.

It is those food standards that a team from Newcastle University looked at, to see whether the implementation of rules for school lunches had had any beneficial impact on diet and nutrient intake. Concentrating on six schools in the Northumberland area, the researchers compared food diaries from two groups of 11- and 12-year-olds - one in 1999-2000 and the other in 2009-10 - as well as interviews about their food choices and portion sizes.

The academics found that take-up of school meals had declined by the second sample - primarily among middle-class parents, who cited reasons such as "value for money" and the desire to provide children with something "cheaper" and "less risky".

As the researchers put it: "School lunches have the potential to improve children's dietary intake, but only if they are consumed."

In addition, the study finds "limited evidence" of an impact from the 2006 food standards on total diet.

This, in conjunction with the report's conclusion that "improvements are needed in the nutritional content of both school lunches and home-packed lunches", might strengthen the government's hand in its implementation of the School Food Plan.

If this research is to be believed, it's a change that is sorely needed to tackle the issue of childhood obesity.

Sarah Cunnane

Share your views by tweeting @tes

Hot off the press

Raspberry Pi for Dummies by Sean McManus


ISBN 9781118904916

Perfect for beginners to computer science, this book shows you how to make the most of your Raspberry Pi. You will learn everything from how to install software and program Minecraft to how to make a 3D maze. It also includes software recommendations, electronics project ideas and troubleshooting tips.

Education Matters: readings in pastoral care for school chaplains, guidance counsellors and teachers by James O'Higgins Norman

(Veritas Books)

ISBN 9781847305695

This book explores how schools can best meet the personal and social needs of pupils and locates teachers' professional practice within a theoretical framework for pastoral care. The chapters cover caring as an educational aim, adolescence, school discipline, an introduction to counselling and much more.

Mastering Mathematics: teaching to transform achievement by Helen Drury

(Oxford University Press)

ISBN 9780198351757

Mastering Mathematics provides an overview of the key principles of the mastery approach and offers practical guidance for implementing the methodology, plus an action plan for schools that addresses the main aims of the national curriculum for England.

For book queries, please email

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you