The most educated dinner ladies in Britain!
Lib Dem Leader of Rochdale Council - Cllr. Paul Rowen has praised dinner ladies in Rochdale as "the best" in response to the continuing debate regarding children's school meals. He has however written to Ann Tipton, Boss of Young People's Services in Rochdale asking what we are doing to improve the quality of our school meals even further.
School Meals have been pushed onto the General Election agenda by the success of Jamie Oliver's recent TV Programme. Cllr. Rowen said, "This Government have been in power for eight years, and yet we're in the situation that an average of 37p is spent on school dinners, this is disgraceful when compared to the average of 74p spent on prisoners!"
Cllr. David Clayton, Chair of Rochdale's Children, Schools and Families Committee said, "We have been crying out to the Government to improve children's school meals and I hope their recent announcement that more money is to be spent on school dinners and kitchens is not a cheap election gimmick. It is essential that we focus on healthy eating from a young age - I would welcome my committee carrying out a School Meals Review so that we can address issues such as quality of food, nutrients, local ingredients - we would welcome feedback from parents and staff."
Paul Rowen said, "Rochdale is leading the way on this issue and already has a whole programme in place to address this including salad bars at schools, teaching about nutrition and healthy eating." The Council currently employs a nutrient who works through school menus. The Council has recently invested a sizable amount of money on micro kitchens that allow schools to cook fresh food on their premises - several schools in Rochdale only serve fruit juice and water in their vending machines and ignore unhealthy alternatives like Coke and other fizzy drinks.
Paul Rowen has requested a visit to a Rochdale School to see for himself the quality of school dinners. He said, "We are leading the way - but welcome the scrutiny that Cllr. David Clayton has suggested. We do encourage dinner staff to take training on healthy eating and over 50 staff in the last year alone have passed training courses to improve their understanding of healthy eating - we must have the most educated dinner ladies in the world!"