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Schools: Meals

House of Lords written question – answered on 28th June 2012.

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Photo of Lord Beecham Lord Beecham Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 14 December 2011 (WA 276-7) concerning nutritional standards in academies and free schools, what response they have received from the School Food Trust; and whether, in the light of any such response and of representations recently made by Jamie Oliver and others, they will take steps to require academies and free schools to comply with the guidance applied to all other state schools.

Photo of Lord Hill of Oareford Lord Hill of Oareford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The School Food Trust has now undertaken a qualitative study for the department of the provision of school food in a mixture of established and new academies, including one free school. The study examined the quality of provision in academies and the attitudes and intentions of the sector.

The report on the study, published on 15 May 2012, showed that all of the academies interviewed identified food as an important part of overall education provision. Some academies go over and above the minimum requirements and are offering their pupils high quality, nutritional food. As with the maintained sector, however, there is room for further improvement. The Secondary School Food Survey, published by the School Food Trust on 28 April, shows there are still too many schools that do not regularly provide a sufficiently balanced offering despite the standards.

The department wants all pupils to have the opportunity to select a healthy, balanced school lunch. We will therefore consider this new evidence-and that from the trust's Secondary School Food Survey-to determine how best to achieve this policy aim.

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