The Government has asked the co-founders of fast-casual restaurant chain Leon, Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, to examine school food across the country.
The pair have been tasked with creating an action plan to accelerate improvement in school food and determine the role of food more broadly in school life.
Despite work by the likes of the School Food Trust, assorted charities, and Jamie Oliver's Foundation, School Food Trust research showed that:
â- Only 22.5% of schools provide at least one portion of fruit and veg per pupil every day
â- Half of secondary schools offer pizzas and starchy food cooked in oil on most days
â- A third of young people are not choosing a healthy, balanced meal at school
Dimbleby and Vincent are expected to examine which schools are doing things well and why. They will speak to experts, review research and visit schools as well as conduct primary research in order to build up a picture of school food across England.
To ensure that children are eating well in schools the plan will address two key questions:
â- What more needs to be done to make tasty, nutritious food available to all school children?
â- How do we excite children about the food so that they want to eat it?
Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "There has been an improvement in school food in recent years with many schools transforming school dinners, introducing food growing into the curriculum and teaching cookery. However, there is still more to do, particularly in taking localised successes and ensuring they are replicated nationally.
"Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent bring a wealth of practical experience in delivering good food on a budget. I am delighted they have agreed to develop a robust plan to improve schools food and ensure children are given an education that cultivates in them an understanding of food and nutrition."
John Vincent said: "We have a mission at Leon to make it easy for everybody to eat good food. We do it commercially with Leon, and so we are energised by the chance to do so with school food. We join a powerful and growing team of people who have done so much. What we all now need is an action plan that gets to grips with exactly how the ideas and dreams can be implemented for all kids."
Henry Dimbleby said: "There is so much good work being done to improve school food by people in schools around the country. Our job is to find out which schools are doing well and why. This is a great opportunity to work with those people to set out in a systematic way what needs to be done to nurture and accelerate those improvements."
By Neil Gerrard
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