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Unhealthy lunchbox? Expect a note home

24th June 2008

Writing in The Times, Nicola Woolcock warns that parents could be in for a surprise when they clear out their child’s lunchbox.

bad food

The School Food Trust wants to see teachers sending notes home to parents who fail to comply with school healthy eating policies.

In addition, the government-funded body wants congratulatory notes distributed to mums, or dads, who pack healthy lunches.

Not only could this be seen as patronising, but the notes that reprimand will be seen as equally irritating.

Most parents agree with the healthy eating approach and are happy to comply, but receiving a leaflet among the half-eaten crisps and sandwiches when they fall below that level will smack of the “lunchbox police.”

Schools were ordered to provide healthy lunches and remove vending machines full of sweets and fizzy drinks in the wake of Jamie Oliver’s campaign against poor school meals.

Parents were asked to follow by not filling lunchboxes with crisps and biscuits, though this new guidance from the School Food Trust is a clear hardening of the approach.

But the ‘leaflet in the lunchbox’ is not a good way to communicate with parents, say the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations.

“It may make parents feel underrated, dismissed and dictated to,” they say.

Mumsnet, the online forum for mothers, acknowledged that advice on packed lunches was helpful for parents because it helped them to say “no” to their children but receiving a letter would not be a good step.

And as one observer commented, it is a case of everything in moderation…and it does make you wonder “what the staffroom lunchboxes look like.”

 

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