Jamie Oliver says UK school kitchens lack proper facilities

29 September 2008 by
Jamie Oliver says UK school kitchens lack proper facilities

Jamie Oliver has claimed that more than half of the UK's school kitchens lack proper facilities and should be shut down.

Blaming a lack of Government cash, the celebrity chef and campaigner said a "personal survey" had convinced him that kitchens in six out of 10 schools would be condemned if they were not controlled by local councils.

In an interview with Sky News, Oliver said problems highlighted three years ago in his Jamie's School Dinners TV series remain unaddressed and while some funding had arrived it was simply "not enough" to solve the issues of poor facilities and staff training.

"From a personal survey I'd say probably six out of 10 kitchens would be condemned if the councils weren't running them themselves," Oliver said. "There's old kit, ovens that are 20 or 30 years old. We've had the money but it's just not enough."

Oliver claimed that some of the problems faced by schools were caused by cabinet reshuffles, saying he that if he changed staff in his restaurants as often as the Government, he would go out of business.

"If I changed my head chef every year for the last four years like we changed our head of education I'd be bankrupt," he said.

"Is it a good idea that I have been doing school dinners for four or five years and have known four heads of education department? Is that a good thing for all those layers of departments and the teachers out there? I don't think so."

Oliver's initial campaign led to the introduction of new food standards for school meals, but uptake has bombed to its lowest ever level at secondary level leading to warnings that the service is "close to collapse".

Read more news and analysis on school meals here >>

School meals system close to collapse >>

Ofsted report shows school meal uptake falls >>

Crisis in school kitchens? >>

School dinner uptake at England secondary schools drops >>

Jamie Oliver named most iconic British chef >>

By Daniel Thomas

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