Report by Alex Evans
Sunday, September 16, 2012
A WORLE school was held up as a shining example of healthy school dinners on a national TV programme on Monday night.
St Martin’s Church of England Primary School featured on Channel 4’s Dispatches: The School Dinners Scandal as the programme conducted a new investigation into school lunch standards.
As reporter and presenter Tazeen Ahmad said on the programme: “After Jamie Oliver’s high profile campaign to improve school meals, a real change was put in place.
“Millions were pumped into improving school canteens, and tough minimum standards on food and nutrition were set.
“But Dispatches has found that over the last few years strategies to improve the food served in our schools are fast coming undone.”
The episode revealed how six out of 10 secondary school children opt against taking up school dinners, instead eating at takeaways outside schools.
But St Martin’s in Spring Hill was held up as an example of how authorities and schools can ensure hot food served at lunchtime is both healthy and tasty.
The school’s kitchen was praised as a ‘canteen that would inspire any school chef’, while fresh roast beef, vegetables and potatoes or salad were prepared on camera.
Louise Akers, a food inspector for North Somerset Council, said on the programme: “I make sure the recipes are being followed, check that there is oily fish on the menu, which there is, there’s a salmon salad.”
Headteacher Simon Marriott said: “St Martin’s has always been a leader in promoting healthy eating and lifestyles.
“We were delighted to be provided with an opportunity to show the high quality and healthy food offered to our children.
“We have excellent relationships with North Somerset Council’s contract catering team and with our contractors, Edwards and Ward.
“We were pleased to support them both by taking part in the programme.”
The council’s catering and contracts manager Lynda Mitchell said: “Channel 4 approached me in my role as national chairman of the Local Authority Caterers Association, the voice of the school food industry.
“To learn successfully children and young people need to be able to concentrate, and to concentrate you need to eat well.
“Our school lunches are healthy, well balanced and nutritious.
“They offer a daily selection of freshly cooked main meals, salads and desserts, fresh fruit or yoghurt which are nutritionally balanced, provide up to three of your child’s five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables, comply with the Government’s mandatory regulations but also take into consideration what customers want and offer vegetarian options every day.”