Thank you for contacting me about school food.
All children should be able to access healthy food at school every day. With the help of good nutrition, pupils will be ready to learn and have the chance to achieve their full potential. It will hopefully encourage healthy and stable eating habits for life.
The Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014 set out guidance on how schools should provide children with healthy food and drink options to get the necessary energy and nutrition throughout the school day, including that meat or poultry must be offered on three or more days each week, and that milk must be available for drinking every day. Schools must also do all they can to make free water visible and easily available. The Government continues to promote compliance with the School Food Standards and will keep this under review.
I note your concerns over the existing requirements for meat and dairy servings at schools. Although the School Food Standards regulate the food and drink provided at both lunchtime and at other times of the school day, the Government believes that head teachers, school governors and caterers are best placed to make decisions about their school food policies, taking into account local circumstances and the needs of their pupils. This applies, for example, to the provision of vegan meals.
In 2022, the Levelling Up White Paper outlined plans to strengthen adherence by: trialling coordination with the Foods Standards Agency; providing funding of up to £200,000 for a pilot Governor Training Scheme; and encouraging schools to set out their whole school approach to food in a statement on their website. The Government is encouraging schools to respond to feedback from parents about their school meals provision and to act reasonably to ensure the needs and beliefs of their school community are being met.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP