Schools that became academies between 2010 and 2014 are not required to follow the Food Standards. The Standards were not included in their funding contracts so as provide them with more autonomy.
The standards restrict the amount of sugary, fried and fatty foods in school meals and require pupils to be offered at least one portion of vegetables or salad as part of their lunch each day. As the Local Government Association (LGA) points out, this loophole means that about 1 million pupils may be being served unhealthy school meals.
The government has written to the 3,896 academies and free schools affected, asking them to make a voluntary agreement to comply with the new Food Standards. However, according to the LGA, 2,476 schools have still not formally committed to the standards.
Another important aspect of the Food Standards which is frequently forgotten (or ignored) by schools is the requirement for children to learn to cook and be taught about healthy cooking and nutrition. Schools often site a lack of resources and space as reasons for not teaching pupils to cook.
For this reason we brought out Get Cooking in the Classroom. The book has been designed to support schools as they work to comply with The School Food Plan. With relative ease, teachers will be able to undertake a variety of healthy and fun food activities. Many of the recipes do not even require access to an oven!