Serving up healthy lunches at North Cerney Primary School

A 2013 study, written by the Insitute for Fiscal Studies, the National Centre for Social Research and the Brysom Purdon Social Research, showed that universal free school meals “had a significant positive impact on attainment”, as well as easing the pressure on household budgets.

Packed lunches are less likely to meet nutritional standards, according to a 2010 study commissioned by the Food Standards Agency, which found that just 1% of packed lunches met the nutritional standards set for school lunches.

This month saw the 25th National School Meals Week.  Organised jointly by the school meals industry and the Soil Association’s Food For Life campaign, it celebrated all that is great about school food. 14 November was also Roast Dinner Day.

As part of the Silver Jubilee activities, Cllrs Paul Hodgkinson and Jenny Forde were invited to North Cerney Primary School on Wednesday to join the pupils for a roast lunch they themselves prepared.

Speaking at the lunch, Cllr Hodgkinson (Gloucestershire County Council, Bourton and Northleach) said:

“I was delighted to be invited to join the students at North Cerney Primary School for a delicious roast dinner.  Eating a nutritional lunch – either prepared by the school, local caterers or homemade – is shown to be critical for a child’s educational attainment and for tackling the growing challenge of childhood obesity.

“The introduction of free school meals for all children, in reception to year 2, in 2014, highlighted the values of the Liberal Democrats in government – of ensuring that every child has the best possible start in life.”

Cllr Jenny Forde (Cotswold District Council, Chedworth & Churn Valley) remarked:

“It’s no surprise that there’s a direct link between inadequate nutrition and low concentration levels, often the school lunch can be the only sit-down meal that children get. What we put in their bellies is almost as important as what we put in their heads!”

 

Schools serve up a success at lunchtime

Schools in the Cotswolds have been praised for dishing up a new initiative to the area’s infants.

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Since September all 5-7 year olds have been eligible for a free meal at lunchtime for the first time.

Now, as part of National School Meals Week, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for the Cotswolds) has thanked schools in the area for making the scheme a success:

“As the second half of the autumn term kicks off, it’s clear that primary schools up and down the Cotswolds have worked hard to make this work.

“All the evidence shows that a hot, healthy meal at lunch time greatly improves the health, behaviour and results of schoolchildren, providing them with their best start in life, enabling every child to fulfil their potential. “I was impressed by the quality of the lunch when I visited Bourton primary school recently – a roast dinner and fruit was the best lunch I’d had in ages!”

Jenny Forde is a governor at North Cerney School and says that she’s been impressed with how smoothly and competently the schools have responded: “It’s great it is to see so many families taking up the free school meal and lovely to see the children all sitting down to eat the same meal much like a family.”

Laura Watts is on the governing team at Sherborne School: “I’m really impressed with how coolly and calmly the local head teachers have gone about providing hot school meals to the very youngest pupils. Ask busy people to get stuff done and they do it, with very little fuss.”

Cllr Hodgkinson, who is also County Councillor for Bourton and Northleach, served up lunches at North Cerney School this week: “The quality of the food was fantastic and I’m glad to have done my bit for School Meals Week and to thank everyone in the school for getting this initiative off the ground.”