Jamie Oliver calls on Ofsted to judge schools on food quality

Written by: HTU | Published:

Ofsted should judge schools on the quality of their school meals in much more detail, while all schools should be growing their own food.

Ofsted should judge schools on the quality of their school meals in much more detail, while all schools should be growing their own food.

These are among the recommendations in, Feed Me Even Better, the second school food manifesto to be released by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

The document, published last week, details an eight-point plan which Mr Oliver says will further improve school meals and food education.

Mr Oliver first became a figurehead for better and healthier school meals after his television series, Jamie's School Dinners, in 2005.

The 2005 campaign, which was entitled Feed Me Better, led to the then prime minister Tony Blair launching a £280 million drive to improve school food, the establishment of the School Food Trust – now operating as an independent charity – and the implementation of legally binding nutritional standards including a ban on junk food in schools.

It is estimated that 25 per cent of children are still overweight or obese and in his new manifesto Mr Oliver has now called on Ofsted to play a bigger role. He said: “Ofsted inspections don't look at the quality of school food in any great detail, nor do they assess whether a school lunch service actually meets current nutritional standards. Ofsted inspections need to assess the nutritional content of school food as well as the benefits of a good school meal and dining environment.

“The efforts headteachers make to provide a good school lunch service, increase take-up and develop a whole-school approach to food education should be praised in Ofsted assessments."

Elsewhere, Mr Oliver calls for a School Food Premium to be paid to reward those schools that increase the number of students eating school meals.

He added: “Funding should be awarded directly to the school and not the caterer because the school should make the decision on how best to increase take-up; for example, by introducing staggered lunch breaks to reduce queuing, closed-site policies at lunchtime or cooking lessons on the curriculum to improve pupils' relationship with food."

He also said he wanted every school to become a “food-growing school" and that these activities should be curriculum-based. He added: “Children who learn and understand about where their food comes from, as part of their curriculum, will be more intelligent consumers as adults and make better decisions about the food they buy."

He wants cooking to be re-introduced onto the national curriculum and calls for a minimum of 24 hours of practical cooking lessons per key stage for pupils aged four to 11.

Education secretary Michael Gove met with Mr Oliver in June and in a letter this week responding to the manifesto he pledged that he would consider the School Food Premium proposal and that he would ask officials to discuss the idea with the School Food Trust.

Mr Gove also said that the Trust is being given £4.3 million by the government for projects including a school meals take-up survey and other research, for advice on nutritional standards and to help support schools and the training of cooks and caterers.

To read the full manifesto visit www.jamieoliver.com/media/jamiesmanifesto.pdf

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