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What are the national school food standards?

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What are the national school food standards?. Recommended by the School Meals Review Panel Phased in for all maintained schools from 2006 Made up of ‘food-based’ and ‘nutrient-based’ standards. What was their impact?. Primary schools:

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What are the national school food standards?
  • Recommended by the School Meals Review Panel
  • Phased in for all maintained schools from 2006
  • Made up of ‘food-based’ and ‘nutrient-based’ standards
What was their impact?
  • Primary schools:
    • Children are eating more portions of fruit and vegetables as part of their meal
    • Children have an average of two portions of their ‘5-a-day’ as part of their school lunch
    • The average meal is lower in fat, sugar and salt than it was in 2005
    • Caterers are providing healthier lunches with more veg, salad and fruit; fewer chips and other starchy foods cooked in fat; and no crisps or sweets
What was their impact?
  • Secondary schools:
    • The proportion of young people having chips for their school lunch was down from 43% in 2004 to 7% in 2011.
    • Almost all schools had ditched the sale of chocolate, sweets and crisps completely
    • Almost three quarters of students had at least some veg, pulses, fruit or fruit juice as part of their lunch – though they still need to eat more of it!
    • The average meal being eaten contained around a third less saturated fat, fat, salt and sugar than it did in 2004.
  • The legislation has made school food healthier, where the previous voluntary guidelines saw the nutritional quality of school food deteriorate
  • There’s been huge improvement – but there’s still more to do, particularly for secondary schools where their catering is so complex
Changing times
  • Academies and free schools are not required to meet the national school food standards. The Department for Education’s advice is that academies are “free to promote healthy eating and good nutrition as they see fit.”
  • SFT was commissioned by the department to explore how 13 academies approach their food policy
  • SFT also conducted research with a much larger sample of 100 academies, plus several other small studies
What did we find overall?
  • A mixed picture: some academies continue to do great work with food and are following the standards
  • Other academies are not doing so well – reporting to sell products like confectionary, crisps and soft drinks
  • More than twice as many academy schools offering confectionary or crisps compared with maintained schools
What’s happening now?
  • Continuing to promote and share the evidence
  • Campaigners including Jamie Oliver have formed a coalition to ‘Save our School Food Standards’, championing an Early Day Motion in parliament – see
further information - the host page for all the academy studies SFT have completed.

National surveys of food in primary schools:  and in secondaries: - together these provide the first evidence of the impact of the national school food standards legislation

Further information:
Over to you…
  • Should all schools have to follow the school food standards, as basics that we should expect for all children at school?
  • What might platform members do to encourage all schools in the East Midlands to follow the standards as best practice?
  • What could parents do?