Parents join forces to pressure politicians over school meals
Parents from across England are set to come together next month to discuss ways to put further pressure on politicians about the quality of school meals.
The conference called Parents for Better Food in Schools will be held on the 16 October at the St Augustine's Church of England high school in north London.
Organised by Merton Parents for Better Food in School, it aims to aid in the setting up of parent pressure groups across the country to put the Government and Local Authorities under additional pressure to improve school meals in England.
Organiser and school meals campaigner Jackie Schneider said: "As parents we can lobby and campaign for more resources and investment in school meals far more reflectively than the schools themselves."
Guest speakers include Prue Leith, chairman of the School Food Trust (SFT), which is sponsoring the conference.
The conference organisers want to see more done to improve the lunch environment in schools as well as improving the quality of the actual food.
Merton Parents was set up in March 2005 and managed to get its the local authority to build 41 primary schools and improve the quality of food within the London borough.
For more information about the conference e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0787 668 5215.
It comes as new research from the SFT has confirmed the decline in school meal uptake reported by the Local Authority Caterers Association in July.
The second annual survey of take up of school meals in England by the SFT, which was conducted in April of this year and published yesterday, shows secondary school meal uptake has fallen five percentage points to 37.7% and at primary level uptake is now 41.3%, one percentage point lower than last year.
However, the SFT, which has also launched guidance on packed lunches, said the level of decline was now stabilising and it remained confident of achieving the long term goal of healthy meals in schools.
This is despite the Liberal Democrats claiming at the start of the week that the school meals system in England was in "meltdown".
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By Chris Druce
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