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School Food Plan launched

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by DfE, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Middlemarch, the DFE proposal is, indeed, ludicrous.

    Even the cunning plan to save money by sacking lunchtime supervisers wouldn't come anywhere close to the funding required. Many small primaries don't have full kitchens, they rely on the kitchen of a local large secondary to prepare the meals, which they then just heat up. The secondary school kitchen could find itself preparing upwards of 2000 schools meals a day. How on earth could you provide well-balanced, nutritious meals on that scale?

    Perhaps the DFE could rig in the kitchens of nearby hospitals too; most of us are only too aware of the reputation that hospital food has in improving patient outcomes, despite the interference of many a celebrity chef.
  2. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Yes, it's ironic, isn't it, that hospitals - which really should be providing the best quality food - routinely serve up garbage, despite the constant involvement of nutritionists, celeb chefs and the like.

    Like everyone, I'd love it if we could offer the highest quality food to children. Unlike the report's authors and, it seems, our DfE and El Gove, I know from experience that it would cost far, far more than they're willing to hand over.

    Nonetheless, the report "urges" schools to consider paying for all children to have a free meal. I urge the report's authors to consider urging their rich mates to cough up the cash, year on year, to enable this to happen, rather than shoving it in the Tory party's coffers.
  3. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    The spelling of "neighborhoods" and later on "programs" points to the location of this research. Also, the author uses the word "association" in the first half of the paragraph. I think we'd need something stronger than that.
  4. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Does anyone ever think of searching to see if there is no, some, or a lot of evidence linking diet with cognitive ability in children? I did and there's plenty. And there is now evidence linking it to improved academic success.

    To deny the validity of research because it doesn't provide a cast-iron smoking gun immediately is crazy. It clearly points in the direction of a healthy balanced diet resulting in increased cognitive ability and by implication increased academic success. Then add in all the potential health benefits and it's a no-brainer at twice the price.

    I wish SMT and Heads were this contrary with all that VAK and learning styles guff which they lapped up and threw at me. For which there was F.A. evidence...
  5. Please read the plan. www.schoolfoodplan.com. It may not be what you expect. It has been welcomed by Labour as well as the Tories and by two head teacher's unions. We tried to make it an easy read, pragmatic and practical.
  6. Please read it. It may not be what you expect. www.schoolfoodplan.com
  7. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    I would like to see a plentiful supply of fresh drinking water available throughout the classrooms in my school, before we run to the expense of providing a free meal for every child.

    Have you considered the effect on children's weight that might occur if children are eating two main meals a day, plus breakfast at a breakfast club? Many young families, with non-working mums eat a main meal together each evening: despite what the media would have us believe. I noted that the primary school children featured in the video clip were being served up burgers in buns (albeit home-made), potato wedges and a small helping of salad and that many of the children did not choose the salad. That's about 600 calories in protein, fat and carbs - not much of a balance. Imagine if they were also having a similar intake of calories via breakfast and an evening meal too, it would not be long before they exceeded the recommended calorie intake for a primary aged child (approx 2000 for a ten year old boy, less for girls and younger children).

    Looking at the financial picture, the same primary school were relying heavily on parent volunteers to prep and serve the food and they still operated at a loss. Not every school has an infinite supply of willing parents to give up several hours of their day to work unpaid in a school kitchen. I also took exception to the parents who were prepping food without covering their hair, which begs the question had they had basic food hygiene training and who paid for it? Obviously, this is only one case study, but it is being upheld as an example of best practice.
  8. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Damn straight there. Utter drivel from start to finish lapped up by desperate smoke and mirrors merchants.
  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Yes, I've read it. This "urging" you did of heads and councils to consider paying for all pupils to receive a free school meal every day - did you cost it out and then examine school budgets to see how laughable this "urging" was? I worked out that it would cost the average secondary school almost half a million pounds a year - are you aware of the total budget for such a school?

    I was one of the first heads in the country (well before Jamie Oliver's campaign) to keep pupils in school at lunchtime, change our meals provision to ensure that we offered well balanced, nutritious an d very healthy food. I was one of the first to chuck out vending machines, prevent children being sold chocolate, crisps, etc at break, run programmes through PSHE to teach healthy eating, nutrition, etc.

    I'm 100% in favour of making school meals better. What I am not in favour of is (a) ordering heads to something there is no funding for and (b) theorising that such a move "will" improve exam results and thereby forcing heads to provide "measurement" of such "improvements". You know perfectly well that there are more than enough sticks with which to beat heads and teachers - please don't add another.

    Do it because it's good and right for children. Do NOT do it because - much as Gove or the other parties might fancy - it will somehow make the kids get better exam results.

    Oh - and pay for it. I lost count as a head of how many "pilot" projects, which had cash thrown at them, were then "rolled out" - but the rest of us got no extra cash, only the order to do it.
  10. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

  11. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Although I'm not a great fan of Sir Wilshaw, here are his thoughts on school meals:

    "Poor governance focuses on the marginal rather than the key issues: in other words, too much time spent looking at the quality of school lunches and not enough on maths and English." (The Guardian 27.2.2013)

    BUT, soon Ofsted will be charged with grading the quality of school meal provision and its effect on educational outcomes.

    I've no idea who the puppet master is, any more.
  12. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Wilshaw is a man who dances to the tune of his Tory masters regardless of how hypocritical it might make him appear. He's getting 3 generous pensions when he finally decides that the world of education can exist without him, so why should even care?

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