Yesterday's Guardian reported that a survey by the School Food Trust [SFT] has shown that 89 out of 100 academies suveyed are selling high sugar / fat / salt snacks (aka junk food) that do not conform to the 2008 school nutritional guidelines established by the last government, and controversially relaxed by the current Department for Education [DoE] for their preferred academies and free schools.
Up to now, the government has claimed that there is no evidence that academies are abusing "the trust" that the DoE has placed in them, and so it will be instructive to see how they react to these findings. Rubbishing them is usually an attractive initial option.
Early signs are not good as the Department's instinct has been to attack other schools in what looks rather like panic. According to the Guardian, the DoE declined to comment directly on the SFT's findings. However, an indirect spokeswoman did say:
"We trust teachers – the professionals on the frontline – to do what is best for their pupils. Many academies go over and above the minimum requirements and are offering their pupils high quality, nutritional food.
The School Food Trust's own research on all secondary school food shows that even with food standards in place, many maintained schools – far from being paragons of nutrition – are not meeting all the standards and are still offering cakes, biscuits, confectionery and noncompliant drinks to their pupils. Clearly there is room for improvement in all schools – maintained schools as well as academies,"
Own goal I think.
So, well done to the SFT for giving Mr Gove a chance to put things right.