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Catering & Nutrition


Don’t bite chunk out of schools’ healthy meals funding


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Comment by Dr Verner Wheelock, Chairman, Verner Wheelock Associates


ampaigning chef Jamie Oliver has been hitting the headlines again – and with good reason! It seems that all the effort that he and many hardworking school catering staff put into encouraging school kids to eat more healthily could be about to take a step backwards. Why? Because the Government has taken it upon themselves not to ringfence the School Lunch Grant. This grant had previously provided funding specifically for catering improvements and had helped to provide nutritious healthy school dinners, prepared using fresh ingredients. Under the new plans, cash once earmarked for catering can now be used for any other purpose. The fear is that some school Heads may slash catering budgets in favour of spending on new computers or books. I’m all for improving educational facilities, but not at the expense of a child’s health. Ensuring that a child of school age receives the correct nutrients is essential for growth, health and concentration. It has also effected improvements in behaviour.


If we are to stand any chance of tackling childhood obesity we cannot afford to return to the days of spam fritters and chips followed by stodgy puddings. Schools have the opportunity to provide children with at least one balanced meal a day which satisfies nutritional requirements and teaches them to make healthier choices. It would be a great pity if this were taken away.


Dr Verner Wheelock is Chairman of Verner Wheelock Associates, specialists in nutrition and food safety training.


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32 www.education-today.co.uk November 2011


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