Blog: Greenwich meal time spot on

Catherine Sleep | 18 December 2005

It’s been a bonanza year for Jamie Oliver, whose campaign to improve school meals struck a chord with hundreds of thousands of parents who worry about their kids’ diet. His hit show Jamie’s School Dinners focused on a number of schools in Greenwich, London, and now all 81 schools in Greenwich that use the Council’s in-house catering service are serving the freshly-cooked meals that were developed with Oliver.

Around 30,000 schoolchildren in Greenwich are now being offered healthy school meals cooked each day from fresh ingredients, and one local private school has signed up to have its school meals prepared by the Council’s catering service. If you know anything about how the private school system works, you’ll know that this is quite a coup.

As a result of the new menus, the schools now use no packaged foods in their school meals other than tinned tomatoes for sauces and the occasional serving of frozen peas.

It hasn’t come for free: the changes to school meals have required additional investment of more than £600,000 (US$1.1m) by the Council to help support the introduction of the new menus. This has helped fund new equipment, staff training and taster sessions for parents, as well as allowing for an extra allocation of staff hours at those schools that need it to prepare meals from fresh ingredients. The amount spent on ingredients per meal for the new menus has increased, although the final figures are still being calculated.

But I think few would contest that it’s not money well spent.

Thousands now eating healthy school meals in Greenwich


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