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school meals

School Meals

The Government introduced new statutory nutritional standards for school lunches in 2001. The information in this section can be used to find out about the legislation, guidance, research and support that is available.

From April 2000, funding for school meals was delegated to all secondary schools. Primary and special schools can opt for delegation. Where a school has a delegated budget for meals, the governing body take on the responsibility for their provision. School caterers must meet nutritional standards laid down by the Government in an effort to curtail the rising cases of obesity among school children. Good health is important for everyone. The Government wants to secure, maintain and improve children's and young people's health.

Over the next three years, from September 2005, £220m of new grants will be given directly to schools and local education authorities to raise the quality of school meals. We want schools to use those direct grants to develop a coherent 'whole school' approach to food, covering not only school meals but also all other aspects of food provision in school as well as using the curriculum to reinforce healthy eating principles. The money will also fund training and/or longer working hours for school cooks.

The LEA grants will be targeted, first to help primary schools spend a minimum of 50p on ingredients and secondary schools to spend 60p.

Funding is available for new or upgraded kitchen facilities, through the existing programme to rebuild and refurbish schools. We believe that better catering facilities will allow fresh produce to be used in meals and help schools move away from processed and pre-prepared ingredients. Government is already committed to investing £5.5 billion in 2005-06 rising to £6.3 billion in 2007-08 to improve secondary school buildings and at least £1.8 billion to improve primary schools in 07/08.

The Department has allocated £15m to the School Food Trust to provide independent support and advice about school meal improvements to schools and parents. In addition, the Big Lottery Fund, as part of a strategic programme to promote well being, has decided to allocate up to £45 million to support healthy eating projects and initiatives for children, parents and their wider communities.The Fund will work in partnership with the voluntary sector, including the School Food Trust, the Soil Association and Sustain, local authorities, schools and the Healthy Schools Programme to develop the programme.



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