Education: Food for life joins Jamie Oliver

Food for Life has joined Jamie Oliver in campaigning for the introduction of a healthy rating scheme in schools.

The TV chef is calling for a scheme to be rolled out in primary schools, promoting healthy food both in the dining hall and out, by supporting healthier eating, physical activity and the shaping of healthier habits.

It would also be linked to Ofsted inspections ensuring that school food is a priority for school leadership.

The scheme was promised in the government’s 2016 Childhood Obesity Plan but has yet to be implemented.

For the past decade, Food for Life has been supporting schools to take a whole school approach to healthy eating and staying active. This includes supporting schools to organise farm trips, cooking and growing clubs for pupils and their families, and serving freshly prepared meals that make good food appealing.

Statistics show that pupils in Food for Life schools eat a third more fruit and veg than in comparison schools, and more vegetables at home. They are also twice as likely to be getting their ‘5 a day’ than children in comparison schools.

Rob Percival, Food for Life head of policy, said: “The Healthy Rating Scheme offers a timely opportunity to fully involve all schools in the mission to halve childhood obesity by 2030, and to transform the way that children eat.

“The Government must show its commitment to the scheme by convening an advisory group to bring together the ideas and evidence needed to ensure that the scheme is robust and effective.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We are committed to delivering a healthy schools rating scheme, which will recognise and encourage schools contributions to preventing obesity by helping children to eat better and move more.

“We have listened to stakeholder feedback in our preparations and will continue to do so to make sure the scheme is effective for individual schools. More information will be available in due course.” She added: “We intend to deliver this scheme in a way that makes the most of existing resources available to schools. This is a complex and wide-ranging project, and we are taking the time necessary to ensure we deliver a successful resource.”

The DfE confirmed it will be a voluntary scheme.