Government Tries To Get More Children To Eat School Dinners

Government Tries To Get More Children To Eat School Dinners

Government Tries To Get More Children To Eat School Dinners Millions of pounds are to be given to schools to improve meals as it is recommended that unhealthy packed lunches are banned.

Packed lunches may be banned by some schools as the Government tries to get more children to eat school dinners.

The Department for Education is pledging £16.1m to help make the meals they provide more popular.

Head teachers will be responsible for improving take up.

That could include some schools in England stopping pupils bringing in food from home, cutting the price of cooked dinners or making children stay on-site at break time.

The changes follow a year-long review aimed at ensuring pupils eat healthier lunches.

An estimated 20% of children are already obese when they leave primary school.

Currently 57% either bring in packed lunches or buy something from outside school costing parents around £1 billion a year.

The Government said these meals often contain too many sweets, fizzy drinks and fatty foods and the money would be better spent on healthy school lunches.

Announcing the plans, Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “What I’d like to see is a greater take up of school food.”

“As a result of this; more children eating school lunches and fewer having packed lunches, more children being healthier and more energetic throughout the day, and the nation, as a result, benefiting from improved brain power.”

Cooking classes will also be compulsory for all under-14s.

Critics are concerned this interferes with decisions which should be made by parents and could make extra work for already over-stretched teachers.

The review also called for free meals to be extended to all primary schools, starting in the most deprived areas of England.

The move would mean almost three million extra youngsters eating free lunches.

The Government has agreed to look into the proposal, and it is understood that Mr Gove is broadly in favour of the plan.

Linda Cregan of the Children’s Food Trust said: “At a time when so many families on low incomes are struggling with the costs of food, we look forward to progress on the commitments to look at extending free school meals to more children and the call for universal free school meals in all primary schools.”