§ 15. Mr. Murray
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in view of the representatinos made to him by the Association of Education Committees, the National Association of Divisional Executives and the Institutional Management 1540 Association on school meals as set out in Circular 290, what action he proposes to take; and if he will make a statement.
§ 16. Mr. Rhodes
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, in view of the representations made to him by various local education authorities, if he will now take action on the question of the quantities and types of food recommended for the school meals in Circular No. 290 of 1955; and whether he will make a statement.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mr. R. E. Prentice)
My right hon. Friend has set up a working party to review the nutritional recommendations made in the Department's Circular 290 of 1955, with special reference to the question of adjusting the proportion of first-class protein for children in different age groups, and to consider whether the present type of school dinner is appropriate in the light of changes in family feeding habits.
§ Mr. Dodds
While thanking my hon. Friend for that information, and bearing in mind that for most children the school dinner is the main meal of the day, may I ask him to consider recommending to the working party that they might find it useful and illuminating if all school-children were asked to write an essay on school dinners?
§ Mr. Prentice
I know that this proposal is not in front of the working party, but I have no doubt that its members will have noted the supplementary question of my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Murray
I should like to thank my hon. Friend for that Answer, but in view of the fact that circular 290 was issued in 1955, may I ask him to ensure that the working party gets on with this job as soon as possible so as to meet some of the criticisms which have been made by such associations as the National Association of Divisional Executives for Education?
§ Mr. Rhodes
Is my hon. Friend aware that his Departmental officers in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, according to the Director of Education of that city, are 1541 acting in an uncompromising manner in carrying out the regulations, and that the L.E.A. has been pressed to take the cheapest cuts of meat? Will he draw the attention of the working party to the fact that growing teen-agers do not need sloppy custards and milky puddings but more good meat?
§ Mr. Prentice
The Department has had representations from local authorities over a period along these lines. It is for these reasons, and because there seems to be a prima facie case for looking at this question, that the working party was established. I know that the House would not expect me to anticipate its recommendations.
§ Mr. J. H. Osborn
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that, after 10 years, it is time that we got a move on with this?
§ Mr. Prentice
I should have thought that we had got a move on. The working party was appointed some months ago and will be reporting to us during the summer. I do not want to make any invidious comparisons, but I think that we have moved fairly quickly on this important subject.