The National Audit Office says grant-maintained schools may have wasted money on school dinners because they weren't street-wise, writes Ruth Brown.
A new comptroller and auditor-general's report, which will now have implications for local authority schools, says a sample of GM schools' catering contracts included some questionable costs.
Charges such as contractors' training and payroll admin costs should have been challenged and questions also needed to be asked about whether economy-of-scale savings were being passed on to schools, the report says.
Its findings, released this week, could also soon apply to local authority schools since the Government decided to delegate the funding of meals to all locally-managed secondary schools.
Audit Office recommendations are intended to "squeeze out" any extra savings in the catering budget which amounted to Pounds 55 million for all 1,195 grant-maintained schools in 199697.