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Education - MP Investigates school meal standards

16th September 2005

Jonathan Djanogly is starting the school term with an investigation into the quality of meals on offer to the Constituency's children and young people.

Jonathan Djanogly, the Member of Parliament for the Huntingdon Constituency, is starting the school term with an investigation into the quality of meals on offer to the Constituency's children and young people.

Following Jamie Oliver's high profile campaign last year to improve the quality of school meals, the Government promised to invest more money in this important area. But many worried parents are looking for action, not rhetoric, according to this local MP, whose post bag has been featuring letters on the subject.

"I have received a significant amount of letters from anxious parents complaining about the meals their children receive at school," explains Mr Djanogly. "Research has demonstrated again and again the important link between food and a child's academic, physical and social development. I am determined that local children must have access to good quality, nutritious food that will enable them to make the most of the learning opportunities open to them."

The government was forced into an embarrassing u-turn on its school meal policy, offering assurances that the 35p - 45p currently spent on a child's meal would be dramatically increased. But with many schools complaining that they have not seen additional funds, Mr Djanogly has launched an investigation into the state of school dinners in his Huntingdon constituency.

"It is shocking that many countries in Europe spend two times as much as England on a child's school meal", Mr Djanogly continues. "I will be visiting Cambridgeshire County Council's school catering facilities to see their operation first-hand. I am also in the process of contacting all Headteachers asking for their views".

"For many children, school lunch is the main source of nutrition in their day. As schools are encouraged to offer wrap around care, or 'Kelly Hours' as the initiative has been dubbed, it is increasingly important that school meals provide more than empty calories," says Mr Djanogly, who is keen to hear from all constituents on their views and experiences of school meals.

"School meals affect all of us - nutrition has been linked to everything from behaviour to the capacity for learning. I want to hear what my constituents think - parents, teachers, and children themselves. And I will continue to fight for this important issue to remain at the top of the Government's agenda."

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