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Monday, 12 May 2008

School dinners.

We have two children aged 11 and 10 who currently attend primary school. When we moved house they moved school and one of the first things they mentioned about this new school was the dinners, or as our eldest put it "The dinners here are crap!". So, we decided they could alternate between a week of school dinners and a week of coming home at dinner times.

The coming home bit is okay because there are no major roads between the new school and our new house, though there is a minor road but both children are road aware, probably because of the walk to the old school which meant crossing 3 major, busy roads, plus, the school is just shy of 6 minutes walking distance away, so they are relatively safe from cars when walking home.

Now, the state of dinners in U.K. primary schools is in something of a flux at this time because of all the government mandated changes to remove the crap pre-heated dinners they serve our children. Food that was cooked in a city miles away then transported to local school. This was, in our city's case, a trip of some 180 miles. Once at the school the keep warm bins the food was kept in would be re-heated before being served up for our kids to eat, or not. Usually, not. Then that idiot chef, who's name escapes me right now, got involved in the whole process. More money per child was injected into the coffers and the food itself changed to so called 'healthy foodstuffs. Added to this is that most all primary schools are going about setting up in-house kitchens again and hiring properly skilled cooks to work in those kitchens.

While the change of foodstuffs from the crap that was previously on offer to the new 'healthy' food was a good move, it went in the wrong direction. The fact they foistered this change onto young children, some of which no doubt had never seen anything other than chips or a precooked microwaved dinner in their young lives, was a bad move. Consequently, more and a more children took 'packed lunches' or went home. Suffice to say that while a lot of good came from the idiot cooks idea there was also a downside to it.

Our children say that the only downside to coming home for dinner is the lack of playtime they get before sitting down for dinner at school and after they have eaten. Food wise, we allow one small chocolate bar (penguin, blue ribbon etc) but only if they eat the main thing which is usually a sandwich or toasties of some sort, we never fry stuff, we don't do chips, burgers etc etc, a yogurt is always offered up. We prefer them to have something that we hope will not interfere with their evening meal and that is what usually happens, though even with the smallish amounts they have they still ask not to do them a lot at evening meal time.

As i said above our children alternate between a week taking school dinners and a week coming home. One thing we have noticed since we started this regime is that on the weeks they stay school dinners they are always hungry when they come home and always eat an evening meal, whereas when they have come home for dinner they are never hungry when they come home from school and always say "don't do me a lot of food please" prior to us cooking the evening meal.

While this is by no means a scientific experiment it does show us as parents that our children do not get the sustenance they need when staying school dinners and that they do get the sustenance they need when coming home for dinner.

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