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Children's Diets

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent research he has commissioned into the take-up of free school meals; and if he will make a statement. [117389]

This Department funded a study that examined how the nature of the school, its meal provision and its management and administration, influenced the take up of free meals. The research was commissioned by the Child Poverty Action Group and resulted in the publication of a report entitled `Improving the Take up of Free School Meals' in May 2001.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage headteachers and governors to monitor the contribution of vending machines and school tuck shops to children's diets; and if he will make a statement. [117390]

The Department supports the healthy eating strand of the National Healthy Schools Standard which states that coherent and consistent messages about healthy eating, food hygiene and safety and practical food preparation are promoted to pupils. The 'Food in Schools' programme, a joint Department for Education and Skills and Department of Health initiative, aims to develop sustainable programmes to encourage healthy eating. The initiative will take the form of a range of projects, two of which will aim to challenge schools and the vending industry to make healthy options available in school vending machines and provide schools with guidance on how to develop healthy tuck shops.