One of the school dinner ladies who helped Jamie Oliver stamp out turkey twizzlers and start a revolution in healthy eating in schools is coming to Cumbria tomorrow (Tuesday January 29th) to learn more about Cumbria's success in this area.
Nora Sands emerged as the star of the hit programme Jamie's School Dinners when she transformed the menu at Kidbrooke School in Greenwich. She has since produced her own recipe book Nora's Dinners and is now a leading campaigner for healthy eating in schools.
She will be visiting three Eden primary schools tomorrow and there will be a photo and interview opportunity at Clifton Primary School near Penrith at 1pm-1.30pm.
Nora is particularly interested to visit schools in Cumbria because uptake of school meals in the county is well above the national average. According to the Local Authority Caterers Association, the national average for the number of primary school children eating school meals for 2006/7 was 40%. However Cumbria County Council's Client Services Premises Unit, which cooks meals in 160 primary schools (55% of the total), reported an uptake of 51% for the same period.
The three primary schools Nora will be visiting have all shown a growth in the number of children opting for school meals. In December 63% of pupils at Langwathby had a school meal, 61% of North Lakes pupils did the same in December and in Clifton the figure was an incredible 99% of pupils. The percentage of children in Clifton having school meals has been consistently over 90% for every month of this academic year. Nora will be having lunch at the school and meeting some of the catering staff to find out more about the secret of their success.
Cumbria County Council's Client Services Premises Unit says there are a number of crucial ingredients in making school meals popular. They are:
- Attention to the quality of fresh food on the plate
- Controlling costs so meals are affordable
- Making the most of a school's kitchen and dining facilties
- Training employees so they have a passion for the service
- Promoting the service to pupils and parents using the 'Kid's Kitchen' brand, including special themed menus that reflect topical events and curriculum messages
- Working with schools to make meal time an integral part of the learning day
Media enquiries to Gareth Cosslett, News Manager on 01228 606332
Clifton Primary School (CA10 2EG) is in the village of Clifton on the A6 south of Penrith.