Teenagers in Birmingham are turning their backs on new healthy meals that have been introduced in schools, new figures have revealed.
The results show a dramatic decline of almost ten per cent in the number of secondary school pupils eating school dinners since burgers and chips were axed from the menu. There was also a slight decrease in primary school meals of just over one per cent – but an increase of almost 2.5 per cent in toddlers eating nursery meals.
The survey compared meals served over 71 days in the autumn term of 2005 with the same period in 2006. The figures are contained in an updated report for Birmingham City Council's education and lifelong learning overview and scrutiny committee which explored how well the Government's new Standards for Food in Schools agenda has been received.
In September 2006 the Government issued new nutritional standards for school meals, which defined the types of food offered as well as ensuring enough nutrients are included.
The council report monitors progress made by food contractor Direct Services in achieving the Government's standards.
Sue Morris, the University of Birmingham's education psychology programme director, said: "Many secondary school kids are resentful towards what they see as a nanny England.
"It's not that they don't like healthy food, they just may not like the mass produced food offered by their schools," she said, adding that they should be consulted on healthier options they might like.
Catering facilities at 267 schools and nurseries are currently undergoing a #838,000 make-over. The local authority has also put aside #750,000 to build new kitchen facilities for a number of schools, including Parkfield Primary School, Saltley, Prince Albert, Aston, and Somerville School, Small Heath.
As it stands, 44 primary schools out of 311 in Birmingham do not have their own kitchen facilities. A further 25 nurseries are also unable to cook meals on site.