Merton celebrates school meals success

Merton council, schools and parents have cause for celebration this week as the percentage of children eating school meals has risen significantly in the last year.

Figures released from the School Food Trust and LACA Annual survey this week have seen the take up rise by 25.4% in the last year to 46.9% in 2010 in secondary schools, and also rise 5.7% to 35.2% in our primary schools.

In the last year, a cashless payment method has been introduced in secondary schools. The Schools Nutritionist has been working with secondary schools with a focus on improving the dining environment, menus and whole experience, particularly for the year seven intake. As more children are taking up school meals in primary schools, a larger number are continuing this through their school life.

Merton council has been working with schools and the campaigning group Merton Parents for Better Food in Schools, to encourage children and parents to try a quality school lunch and ensure they are accessible to as many families as possible.

Cabinet member for education, Councillor Peter Walker said “Our schools are here to make sure that children develop in all areas and we encourage a healthy lifestyle as part of this. We are delighted at the success of our joint effort with schools and the Merton Parents for Better Food in Schools has produced a rise in the take up of our healthy school meals provision. Good, fresh food helps a child concentrate and learn to their full potential. It’s fantastic to see more and more families are taking up these school meals and we are committed to maintaining and improving these results”.

School caterers ISS Education who provide the meals in Merton, hold the Bronze Food for Life Catering Mark, demonstrating that their meals are fresh, seasonal, locally sourced and that children and parents are involved in the dining experience. Merton Council also holds a Red Tractor plaque to show its commitment to serving meat reared to a high standard and all poultry is Freedom Food accedited.

For more information visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/catering

Notes to editors:

Primary Schools take up 2009: 33.3% and 2010: 35.2%
Secondary Schools take up 2009: 37.4% and 2010: 46.9%
-Ends-

Press Contact:

Leoni Munslow

Communications Assistant

London Borough of Merton

020 8545 4654