Watching television in the canteen could boost uptake of healthy food in schools, an education minister claimed yesterday.
Speaking at the Healthy School Meals Conference, Parmjit Dhanda praised a London school for installing an internet zone in its dining area and added: "Other local authorities and schools are also showing what works.
"Things like plasma TVs showing music television -not everyone's idea of a good environment in which to eat, I know, but attractive to teenagers."
"The grotty old canteen" needs to become "a modern, pleasant environment for enjoying meals", with catering staff treated as "high status", according to Dhanda.
His suggestions come after fears that moves to improve school meals, inspired by Jamie Oliver, have led to a decline in uptake.
But David Willetts, the Shadow Education Secretary, accused the minister of getting his priorities wrong.
"Ministers are flirting with ideas like plasma screens but the new school-building programme does not even ensure that schools have got a kitchen to cook fresh food in," he said.
By Daniel Thomas
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