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Source: Channel Islands – Jersey

Nearly 200 schoolchildren have signed up to a trial project to provide nutritionally balanced lunches at two primary schools. 

The pilot scheme, which aims to give consistent nutritious food during the school day, started this term at Samarès and Janvrin schools. It will cost £2.50 for a main meal and a dessert, and some children will be eligible for a free meal. A total of 130 Janvrin School pupils and 65 Samarès School pupils have signed up to the scheme, which launched at the start of term.

The Minister for Education, Senator Tracey Vallois, said: “I am delighted to see the launch of this pilot scheme that will support the dietary needs of primary school children and improve their wellbeing. We are committed to putting children first, and it is important that they have daily access to nutritious food at school. This scheme will also help parents who would like their children to have school meals. I hope that this trial will be successful so that it can be extended to all primary schoolchildren.”

Janvrin School head teacher Iain George said: “Janvrin School is delighted and proud to be supporting and developing this valuable initiative. Its potential impact on the health and wellbeing of our children is massive, not just in the short term, but also in the lifelong influence of how and what we eat. We look forward to the work ahead with this project and seeing the benefits for the children and their families.”

Samarès School head teacher Mike McDermott said: “Samarès School is really grateful to have been selected as one of the schools taking part in this exciting project. To be able to provide parents with the option of choosing a hot, healthy, balanced meal for their child at lunchtime is a great achievement and is a testament to the hard work of all those involved in setting up the project.

“As a school, we look forward to the potential benefits of the project being realised and the impact that encouraging healthy lifestyle choices from an early age may have on the children and families of the island.”

The Government of Jersey is working alongside charity Caring Cooks to offer the scheme, which will be reviewed at the end of the project. If successful, the school meals service could go out to tender, which is dependent on the pilot scheme outcomes, pupil uptake and financial thresholds. Caring Cooks, who promote and encourage healthy eating from an early age, have received £200,000 of contingency funding from the Government investment board for the implementation and management of the pilot scheme. 

Martin Knight, Director of Public Health Policy, said that the school meals project would allow the Government to intervene early in children’s lives to help them develop positive dietary habits.

“Although parents do generally provide healthy packed lunches, it is a daily challenge to ensure that they do not contain high levels of saturated fats, salt and sugar,” he said. “We hope that this pilot scheme will help busy parents and have a positive impact on children’s’ physical and mental wellbeing.”​

MIL OSI United Kingdom