The Caterer

Nutritional standards must apply to academies and free schools, says LACA

Nutritional standards must apply to academies and free schools, says LACA

Nutritional standards need to be enforced and made mandatory in academies and free schools, according to the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA).

LACA members want to know why nutritional guidelines that are mandatory in state primary and secondary schools do not apply to academies and free schools. LACA chair Sandra Russell (pictured) has written an open letter to MPs this week demanding answers.

"We are concerned that parents will not be impressed if the ‘flagship' schools in the country return to selling crisps, carbonated sugary drinks and confectionery," she said.

The letter also calls on the Coalition Government to ensure that the legislated standards are enforced via Ofsted inspections rather than "infer that only soft-touch enforcements be pursued".

The schools meals service in England has had a bumpy ride in the past six years since celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's ground-breaking campaign to revolutionise the way schoolchildren are fed.

As a result the previous Government invested £280m via the School Lunch Grant to support schools in the transition from an unregulated service.

Following a successful campaign by LACA and Caterer and Hotelkeeper, the funding continued but it lost its ring-fence when the Coalition Government created a single Direct School Grant that gave headteachers the power to decide where that cash could be spent.

National School Meals week drives take-up of school dinners >>

School meal funding to continue, thanks to School Meals Matter campaign >>

School dinners and the Jamie Oliver effect >>

By Janie Stamford

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