to think even Gove wouldn''t ban packed lunches(433 Posts)
Good - that is a really lovely idea. I bet they love it.
My friend is a TA in a nursery in France. One of her charges is fussy bordering on pathological at home. His diet at consists exclusively of pasta, sausages and bread. My friend has worked very hard with him (not assisted by the mum at all) and after 2 years of nursery he will now try anything put in front of him at school, and doesn't make a fuss if he doesn't really like it. At home he still eats pasta and sausages and kicks off if he's given anything else.
So this child who in the UK would probably be having regular appointments with paediatric nutritionists and feeding experts is actually perfectly capable of eating a variety of food. He just chooses not to. Having varied meals at school in an environment in which he knows they won't just whip out the pasta and sausages if he kicks off, is actually helping him to eat a varied diet. Surely that has to be a good thing? If only people realised how very differently their children behaved at school I'm sure many parents would be more supportive of the school.
duchesse - good for your TA friend. Glad she managed to help this little boy. However, a couple of things spring to mind:
a) The boy received a lot of support from your friend. This is very different to having a school meal plonked in front of you and being told you must eat it. School staff are generally busy to provide that level of support.
b) What if your friend had been wrong about this boy's reasons for not wanting to eat strange food? Some years ago, a child died in Spain because a nurse refused to believe his parents when they said he had a milk allergy (it wasn't written officially on his hospital notes). She decided he was 'just' a fussy eater with an overindulgent mother, so she fed him a yoghurt
Many children would be better off eating school meals (assuming a huge increase in quality), but many others would suffer or even be put at risk.
The setup is completely different in France. My friend is with the children through lunch every day in a quasi-parental role. She does all the bodily function stuff (feeding, toileting, washing) while the teacher does the teaching. My friend is on duty through her lunch and eats with the children, then has an hour off after lunch while the teacher takes the children to the playground with help from the year 6s and the other nursery teachers.
Yes different situation in France. To start with lunch is a proper 3 courses meal with a starter, a main course and a dessert.
And even thought it us still canteen, mass produce and low quality type of food, it is still way better than what children eat here. And the quantity is there.
One of the reason for cheap school meals in France is because it is known that for some children it will be their only proper meal of the day. Quite a few children also do not face breakfast which doesn't help.
So the school meals are a way to ensure the poorest children still get a decent enough nutrition.
There is something to say about that but it also has its issues, mainly around special diets, whatever the reason. And you have to remember that the cost there is vet low compare to here. The government does support a big part of the cost of the school meal.
Yes, when I studied in France we had excellent food (for the price) in the Restaurant Universitaire.
Starter - little salad or some such, main - typically something like brochettes and cous cous, but sometimes even steak frites. The steak could be a bit stringy sometimes but was generally quite good, and it got me into liking my meat pink/rare. Then a dessert - a choice of cake, yoghurt or fruit and also a bit of cheese. All for £1.30 a meal. This was 15 years ago, sure, but I bet they do it for £2.20 or similar now. You should certainly be able to do two courses for school kids well for that price IMO.
If you look a the films on the website you will see that the idea is for the quality of school lunches to improve, for the children to learn where the food comes from and how to make it themselves and raise standards all the way around.
The big mistake the report makes is to attempt to win over millions of pack lunch parents by attacking them first! "only 1% of pack lunches meet the nutritional guidelines of school meals" ie you are all harming your kids!
The 1% figure is highly misleading. It is based on food actually eaten by the kids vs an idealised school menu. If you actually look at the nutritional composition of packed lunches eaten vs school dinners, they are very similar! Once you add in a healthy packed lunch policy they would actually out perform school meals - at much lower cost.
So the real answer is a healthy packed lunch policy as well as improving school meals of course!
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