Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pupils spurn healthier school meals

From the Scotsman:
"THE number of pupils taking school meals has fallen to the lowest recorded level, despite attempts by the Scottish Executive to encourage youngsters to eat more healthily.

Figures released yesterday also showed the proportion of pupils eating a school lunch has fallen for three consecutive years since ministers launched their Hungry for Success initiative.

A total of £135 million has been spent on the scheme since November 2002, with the aim of providing pupils with healthier options at lunchtime."
Well, what do you expect? Personally I haven't been back to the school canteen since deep-fried Mars bar was taken off the menu.

Now, there's been a number of comments from various politicians up here along the lines of "you can't change a nation's eating habits overnight" and so on. Having just watched 'sports day', with the next generation of the sickest nation in Europe wheezing and vomiting their way to the finish line, I can only agree. But in all seriousness, I think they're all overlooking a key problem with school meals, which is they are a grievous assault on both stomach and palate - unquestionably the worst culinary experience you can have outside of prison. Lord James Douglas-Hamilton doesn't quite get it:
"Many will now ask whether the money spent on promoting school meals might have been better invested in more PE teachers or elsewhere in the education system."
Just about every penny spent in education could have been 'better invested' but if he thinks we need more teachers in tracksuits, he's lost his damn mind. I have an alternative suggestion: couldn't they use some of the money to make the meals nicer? Radical, I know.

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