One of Jamie's schools says goodbye to Scolarest

10 March 2005 by
One of Jamie's schools says goodbye to Scolarest

The headmistress of a school featured in Jamie Oliver's new TV show, Jamie's School Dinners, has opted out of its catering contract with Scolarest.

Yvonne Ryle, head of the 415-pupil Eden Community Primary School in Peterlee, Durham, has decided to use an in-house catering team to improve food from September.

Ryle said she had pulled out of the county-wide contract with Compass's education division along with three other Durham schools.

"We want a return to traditional cooking and natural ingredients. Processed food and additives don't do the children any good and can have a bad impact on their behaviour," she said.

Ryle, who has offered jobs to existing Scolarest staff, plans to boost spending from 37p a meal to more than 50p.

But there are no plans to increase the £1.35 paid by the kids' parents.

She added that the parents were shocked to discover how much Scolarest spent on meals during Oliver's programme.

"They were up in arms when they found out that each meal cost only 37p. They turned up at the school gates and let their feelings be known," she said.

But a Scolarest spokeswoman said that losing only four contracts out of a total of 242 across the county was an endorsement of its performance.

"Within a tight budget there is only so much we can do. More money buys fresher produce and pays staff to stay in the kitchen longer so they can cook."

However, she also said that Compass Group, Scolarest's parent company, had listened to nutritional concerns and was to take all Bernard Mathews turkey twizzlers off the menu by Easter.

Durham County Council also plans to up its spending on meals by 10p to 55p next year.

By Tom Bill

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