News / Children's Food Campaign

Gove still failing the school food test

Children's Food Campaign's response to the publication of the School Food Plan

Responding to the publication of the School Food Plan, Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign, said:

“All children should be offered tasty and nutritious school food, but the Plan has created a postcode lottery.  Only those head teachers who have the commitment and the money to implement the Plan will be able to do so.  A piece of paper pinned to the head teacher’s wall is no substitute for rigorous and thoroughly-tested food and nutrient standards.  These should apply to all schools and be backed up by proper funding and monitoring.”

“Over the past year Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent have heard from hundreds of parents and concerned organisations that the current legally binding standards – introduced following Jamie’s School Dinners programme - are popular, trusted and should apply to all schools.  More than 115 MPs have also backed this call and the rise in quality that followed the new standards is largely responsible for the increase in the numbers of children eating school meals. Yet the School Food Plan has chosen to ignore all this evidence, in favour of a watered-down approach with no guarantee either that it will work or that the hundreds of new academies will sign up.”

“For many children school dinners can be their only healthy meal of the day so we welcome the School Food Plan’s recommendation that free school meals should be extended to all primary children.  But we’ve heard the promises from the government to “investigate the case” before.  The onus remains on the Education Secretary Michael Gove and the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to end the scandal of 700,000 children living in poverty who are not entitled to free school meals.”

Contact:  Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator, Children’s Food Campaign, on 0203 5596 777 or 07733322148 or


  1. The School Food Plan was published on 12 July 2013 and is available to download from the School Food Plan website:
  2. The Children’s Food Campaign’s submission to the School Food Plan can be read here.
  3. The Children’s Food Campaign is a founder member of the Save Our School Food Standards campaign, calling for all academies and free schools to be subject to the mandatory school food and nutrient standards www.sosfood,  Our joint submission to the School Food Plan can be read here.
  4. Comprehensive food and nutrient-based standards for maintained schools in England became statutory in primary schools from 2008 and secondary schools from 2009. They cover food and drink served at lunchtime, and throughout the school day. This applies to all maintained schools and academies which have compliance with the food standards included in their funding agreements.


Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

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