ONE in seven primary schools in Birmingham is having to ship in meals from other schools because they do not have kitchen facilities.
The high proportion was described as "unacceptable" by a teaching union and has raised concern from healthy eating campaigners.
It also marks a failure to meet Government guidelines ensuring all schools are able to produce at least one healthy meal a day on their premises.
A total of 44 primary schools out of 311 in the city do not currently have kitchen facilities. A further 25 nurseries are also unable to cook meals on site.
It means they have to transport meals made at other neighbouring schools in thermal containers and reheat them for their pupils.
Brian Carter, regional secretary for the National Union of Teachers, said: "This is unacceptable and a legacy of the former Conservative Government that decided school meals were not important.
"We now know that healthy eating is important to children and funding must be found to provide proper cooking facilities in schools."
Birmingham City Council has approved #750,000 to provide kitchen facilities at three of the schools.
However, funding for the remaining 41 will have to compete with other demands for public money during the coming year.
Joanna Collins, of the Soil Association's Food for Life campaign which champions healthy eating in schools, said: "Kitchens need to be put in place now, not in the next decade. The evidence is very strong that the food that children eat through their school day has a big impact on their behaviour.
"Teachers are really struggling with children not behaving in schools and not fulfilling their potential. Food has a big role to play and there is no excuse for not prioritising kitchens in schools.
"Reheated food is never as good as freshly prepared meals in kitchens on site."
Ms Collins said there was a legacy of under-investment in school cooking facilities. The current Government has pledged additional money to tackle the problem in the wake of negative publicity surrounding school meals.
A report given to the council's Cabinet Member for Education Councillor Les Lawrence (Con Northfield) this week stated: "If this work is not undertaken, those schools will have to continue transporting school meals from other schools.
"Those schools will then have difficulties meeting the DfES statutory guidelines regarding the provision of hot meals within nutritional guidelines."
However, Ministers have not yet stated how much extra cash will be made available or how it will be distributed.