Inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) are planning to investigate nutrition in England’s primary schools as prompted by the UK’s Food Standards Agency.
The move is a result of increasing concern about the rise in child obesity. One in three British children is overweight, and the number of overweight teenagers is estimated to have doubled in the last 20 years.
The inspectors are likely to look at the way diet and nutrition are covered in the school curriculum, and at the types of food provided by schools.
Education authorities are required to provide nutritionally balanced meals, according to regulations introduced in 2001. An estimated four million school lunches are provided each day, according to the Local Authority Caterer’s Association, but not all authorities provide meals, particularly in primary schools. In those cases, parents are expected to provide packed lunches, apart from if parents are in receipt of benefits, in which case their children are entitled to free school meals.
The special Ofsted report on child nutrition is to be carried out by full-time inspection staff, and will not be part of the regular school inspections.
The FSA will send the results to schools around the country, highlighting examples of good practice, reported BBC Online.