Jamie Oliver fears government is undoing school meal progress
Chef accuses ministers of jeopardising progress made in school dinner halls
Jamie Oliver fears the school meals revolution he kickstarted is in danger of unravelling because ministers are ignoring research showing that nutritious lunches improve learning.
In an interview with the Guardian, the celebrity chef has accused the education secretary, Michael Gove, and the health secretary, Andrew Lansley, of putting at risk the changes that happened after his 2005 Channel 4 series, Jamie's School Dinners.
Some of Gove's decisions on school meals have led to unease among health and education campaigners. Gove has ended the school lunch grant as a separate source of funding and exempted academies from the nutritional standards for all other state schools that Labour introduced after Oliver's programmes highlighted the poor quality of much school food.Продолжение...
Jamie Oliver has launched his new food manifesto, calling for more money to be spent on school food, and for nutritional standards to apply to all schools – even academies
School food is sorted, right? That nice Jamie Oliver fixed it all through his telly series, didn't he? Got those horrible UKTurkey Twizzlers banned, school lunches made healthy, dinner ladies trained to cook proper grub and squeezed £280m out of Tony Blair for a much-needed canteen and kitchen revolution.
All this was widely welcomed and schools introduced the ensuing changes without too much disruption. School meals now include the right combination of energy and nutrients, while pupils who eat them are consuming much less sugar, salt and saturated fat than before, and sweet treats, chips and high-sugar drinks have been banished. And take-up is increasing. So is all that enough? Well, no, it's not – far from it.
Who says so? Oliver himself. The campaigning celebrity chef has told Education Guardian he is "very worried" at what he sees as signs the coalition government is not as committed to school food as its Labour predecessor, and that the considerable progress in this area since his Jamie's School Dinners TV series in 2005 is under threat. So worried is he that he has drawn up an action plan – unveiled exclusively to the Guardian – to try to safeguard the many achievements of the last six years and get ministers to keep the faith food-wise.