Magazine Archive

It might be a bit of an understatement to say that this month has been eventful for the school meals industry. Ever since the Conservative manifesto stated that the government would scrap Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) the industry has gone into a frenzy, campaigning to stop it from happening. Even the General Election result didn’t make it clear if the fight would have to continue or not, and the postponement of the Queen’s Speech made the suspense unbearable and the speculation rife. When UFISM wasn’t mentioned in the Queen’s Speech on 21st June there was a notable sigh of relief. The School Food Plan Alliance tweeted: “No mention of scrapping #UIFSM in Queens speech. Safe for now, great news for hundreds of thousands of infant pupils...” If the past couple of months have shown us anything it’s that UIFSM is not safe. On page 23 I attempt to gather some of the key points that have come out of the campaign to save UIFSM, including how many redundancies it could lead to, and the services that would have to close completely. As many people in the industry have said, evaluation of the benefits and effects of UIFSM is critical if we are to make sure the policy’s future isn’t up for debate at the next opportunity. It's a topic that is close to Prue Leith’s heart too, when she spoke to Jane Renton this month (page 16). Prue is the new ambassador for the Children’s Food Trust’s Lets Get Cooking programme and has been particularly vocal about the plans to axe UIFSM, as well as childhood obesity and child food poverty, in recent weeks. On a more positive note, we went along to School Food Matters’ 10th anniversary picnic this month (page 20), where we caught up with long-time supporter of the charity Tom Aitkens, as well as founder Stephanie Wood, about how much School Food Matters has achieved over the years. We also took part in a great big carrot crunch! We also have our EDUcatering Excellence Awards to look forward to. The deadline has been extended to 21st July and we want to hear from all the wonderful individuals and schools doing their bit to make food healthy, fun and delicious. You can enter at educateringawards.co.uk. We have a bumper supplement in this issue too, of the LACA Education Catering Exhibition. I look forward to seeing you at LACA The Main Event. Pop along to our stand at P55 or catch me walking the halls as I would love to hear about what you are doing.

  • Big Interview: The fight for school food

    Big Interview: The fight for school food

    The Conservatives under David Cameron were planning to extend not scrap free school meals, Prue Leith tells Jane Renton.

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  • Saved from the axe

    Saved from the axe

    The General Election has brought the school meals industry together to campaign to save Universal Infant Free School Meals and show the dire consequences of scrapping the policy, writes Morag Wilson.

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  • What matters most

    What matters most

    It’s been a triumphant 10 years for School Food Matters, growing from kitchen table to national food education project, so Rosanna Spence went along to its birthday bash in a secret Westminster garden.

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