School dinners are in crisis again – but this time it seems that Jamie Oliver is to blame.
After singling the dinner ladies out for serving up childhood obesity, it seems the celebrity chef’s campaign to get children eating more healthily has led to a drop in school dinner take up.
According to a study by the BBC schools in 35 areas (59%) said the number of pupils eating school dinners had gone down and, of those 71% believed Jamie Oliver’s campaign was a reason.
Two-thirds said children did not like the new, more nutritious menus.
But these headline figure may mask a deeper malaise – what are parents doing about this? After the unedifying scenes of parents selling junk food to their soon to be not-so-little darlings through the school gate, it makes you wonder what delights these parents are now providing to the truculent Waynes and Perrys who are turning their snouts up at “proper food”.
A nutritious home-prepared pack –up perhaps? Or a relinquishing of parental responsibility by handing out some cash to go to the chippy, newsagent or local greasy spoon?
You do have to feel some sympathy for the plight of the dinner ladies, Jamie Oliver and the rest of the do-gooding school campaigners because you can take the junk out of school but it won’t make a jot of difference unless the message is carried into the home as well.
* For more on this, have a look at The School Dinner debate.