Ban unhealthy packed lunches

27th May 2005 at 01:00
Thanks to Jamie Oliver's timely intervention, the decline of school meals has been well documented, but what about the effects of packed lunches?

Fifteen years ago schools served 99 per cent of pupils lunches of differing quality with no incentive to improve. Then parent power raised its head resulting in many children getting the option of a packed lunch. Since then the increase in packed lunches has been phenomenal and perhaps can only be compared to the appalling rise in child obesity during this period.

Have schools the right to say that food high in fat, sugar, salt, and riddled with E-numbers will not be tolerated in school? Is it OK for parents to feed children on highly processed superbly marketed food that changes calm considerate pupils into hyper-active rogues that cannot listen, or concentrate in the afternoons?

During the next few years all schools will move to an 8am till 6pm "education care" service. Breakfasts are all part of the service. It is now time to upgrade the quality of school meals. Unless a child needs to follow a specific diet for medical reasons, packed lunches should be banned. A healthy school should not be forced to suspend its principles at lunch-time.

Doug Welsh

Headteacher

Nunthorpe primary school Guisborough Road

Middlesbrough

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