Latest Public Sector News

22.03.16

Nearly 2,500 academies have failed to adopt healthy school meal standards

Nearly 2,500 academies have failed to sign up to new healthy school meal standards, the Local Government Association (LGA) has calculated.

Regulations on healthy eating in schools introduced last year are compulsory for all schools except academies which opened between 2010 and 2014, who can impose them on a voluntary basis.

According to the LGA, 2,476 of the 3,896 academies eligible have not signed up to the guidelines, which include restrictions on providing fried and pastry-based food and sugary drinks and ensuring that children get at least one portion of vegetables every day.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, community wellbeing spokesperson for the LGA, said: “It is deeply worrying that hundreds of academies and free schools are yet to commit to providing healthy school meals to children, more than a year since they were first asked to sign up to new school food standards by government.

“It’s not right that we have rules for some but not all. Councils are responsible for tackling childhood obesity and poor diet as part of our public health responsibilities, which is why we want academies and free schools that opened between 2010 and 2014 to formally agree to the school meal standards that are mandatory for every other school.”

The LGA is opposed to the move to turn all schools into academies outlined in last week’s Budget. The Association called on the government to make healthy eating requirements compulsory in academies in its delayed childhood obesity strategy, which is due to be released in the summer.

In 2014-15, 19.1% of children in Year 6 in England were obese and 14.2% were overweight.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "All new academies are expected to meet the food standards and we are pleased that more and more academies are signing up voluntarily."

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