Inspecting food is not new idea

1st April 2005 at 01:00
Contrary to reports in some newspapers, Office for Standards in Education inspections have been looking at and tasting school meals since Ofsted's inception in 1993 .

As a lay inspector, I always make a point of meeting catering staff, inspecting kitchens and sampling the menu. Where a meal is provided that is both nutritious and plentiful, this is always commended in the subsequent report.

A good number of schools have Healthy Schools Awards and a number of cooks speak at new parents' evenings on the contents of packed lunches (which a substantial number of pupils choose to have). Some schools provide breakfast clubs and catering staff in more forward-looking schools consult staff and pupils about the lunches.

It is sometimes difficult to provide good meals on the tight budget given to meals contractors. There is also variation in the meals provided between contractors, so an increase in the budget for food from the Government will be welcome.

The other good thing will be the inspectors' new ability to report where meals are poor.

Bob Miller

Old School Field

Chelmsford

Essex

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