Jamie Oliver’s school dinners revolution has backfired as pupils turn their backs on increasingly expensive canteen food, according to inspectors.
Ofsted warned that the Government’s £477 million overhaul of school food will have a ‘limited’ impact if children keep shunning healthier food.
In a new report, Ofsted said some teenage girls were eating nothing during the day to stay slim, while younger children at primary school couldn’t use a knife and fork properly.
Some pupils felt the healthier meals were too expensive while others preferred the chip shop at lunchtime.
The report was published one year after new rules came into force banning junk food from canteens following Jamie’s TV campaign for healthier school dinners.
Ofsted said fewer pupils were eating school meals in 19 of the 27 primaries and secondaries they visited.
“The take-up of school meals had fallen overall since the introduction of the new food standards,” the report said.
“Reasons for this decline are complex and include lack of consultation with pupils and parents about the new arrangements in schools; poor marketing of the new menus; the high costs for low-income families and a lack of choice in what is offered.”
The inspectors warned: “If this trend continues, the impact of the Government’s food policies will have limited effect… particularly… for children from more vulnerable families.
The report, Food In Schools: Encouraging Healthier Eating, said some pupils were simply taking unhealthy packed lunches into school or going shopping for junk food.