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Frustrations over school meals

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Raymond Blanc & Karen Collett

Karen Collett, Headteacher at Haddenham St Mary's CE School, is committed to finding a healthy solution to the government's initiative stipulating the return of free school meals from September of this year. But there are serious hurdles!

The seemingly commendable legislation has, like many policy decisions, failed to take into account some obvious obstructions — for example the fact that the majority of schools stripped out their kitchens when they were no longer required to provide on site catering for pupils!

Karen was frustrated by the initial solution presented to her: 'airplane style' prepared meals delivered to the school from High Wycombe. The purpose of reinstating free school meals is to tackle obesity and ensure pupils have a balanced meal that educates them about nutrition. Mass produced foods packaged up in plastic trays may not be the best way to achieve this objective. Nor are they likely to be the cheapest option.

However, it does seem that a re-think is in progress, and Karen is confident that a better solution is likely to emerge very soon. We will keep you posted.

In the mean time, Karen will be hosting a Food Conference at Haddenham St Mary's school, on Friday 27th June, from 9.30am-3pm, to explore options with a team of experts including Raymond Blanc, nutritionist Amanda Ursell, Chair of the National Obesity Forum Tam Fry, Juliane Noble from the Jamie Oliver Foundation and Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins.

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