Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Schools no longer need to have kitchens.

A number of media reports are stating that there have recently been changes that water down the provision in law for schools to have adequate facilities for the preparation of school dinners.

Previous legislation, in the form of the The Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 states, in section 7 :

"The buildings provided for a school shall be adequate to permit the provision of appropriate ancillary facilities, in particular... for the preparation or serving of food and drinks and the washing of crockery and other utensils"

However, The School Premises (England) Regulations 2012, contain no such requirement, saying merely, in Section 6 that :

"School premises and the accommodation and facilities provided therein must be maintained to a standard such that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of pupils are ensured."

Crikey.

That rather sounds like a charter for cheaper, inadequate, buildings - which will have no option but to buy in food rather than cooking it on the premises.

If I were a producer of cheap meals that had to be transported long distances before being reheated at the school I would certainly be in favour of this change in legislation. In fact I would pay good money to ensure that the 1999 requirements were omitted from any future legislation, as indeed they have been.

That's if I were such a person, of course, which I'm not.

To see how important good quality school meals are, one can loook towards the 2005 Turning the Tables report by the School Meals Review Panel, commissioned by the Secretary of State for Education. The report states that :

"The health advantages of well-cooked, well-presented meals, made from good-quality ingredients to accepted nutritional standards, by school caterers who are confident in their skills and valued by the school community, are inestimable. The benefits of good school meals go beyond high quality catering. They also produce social, educational and economic advantages. . . The Panel repeatedly heard head teachers and others from schools where food had already been improved speak of associated improvements in behaviour: of calmer, better behaved children, more ready to learn. Improving food in schools may contribute to improved attainment and behaviour."

And perhaps the most relevant of their recommendations was that:

"Schools should aspire to achieve the highest quality of provision, which is a hot meal, cooked on-site, from fresh and seasonal ingredients. Whilst we accept that this level of provision is not possible to achieve in all schools at present, we recommend that schools work towards this"

Inevitably, BFTF found himself asking the local Conservative party why the 1999 requirements had been omitted from the 2012 legislation.

Other links to this story:
BBC
Mail Online

See also:
School Food Trust

1 comment:

  1. The health advantages of well-cooked, well-presented meals, made from good-quality ingredients to accepted nutritional standards


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