School Food Standards
The Government launched their long awaited plan to tackle childhood obesity this month, which includes a commitment to revise the School Food Standards to incorporate the latest advice on sugar and nutrition; a consultation on this is expected to be launched in the coming months. Additionally, the obesity strategy outlined the government’s plans to push ahead with a sugar tax. However, the strategy was far less comprehensive than had been anticipated. Notably, the target for reducing sugar content in products is to be voluntary for industry. Children’s health campaigners labelled it “disappointing” and “watered down”.
We met with Jackie O’Neil and Cat Byrne of the Department for Education’s Healthy Pupils Unit on 3rd August. During the meeting the importance of the School Food Standards was discussed, with both Ms O’Neil and Ms Byrne re-affirming the Department’s commitment to them. It was made clear that the recent change of political leadership has left the Department in a state of flux, and as such it was difficult for them to offer a firm insight into current policy direction. However, we have now established a dialogue with the Department which we will utilise in our engagement over the revisions to the School Food Standards.
1st August saw us meet with Valentine Mulholland and Rose Tremlett of the NAHT. This was a positive meeting, and they demonstrated that they were supportive of the role of school milk, particularly in improving the nutrition of children in deprived areas. We discussed the implementation of the school food standards as well as the importance of milk at mid-morning break. They agreed to potentially signpost their members to and/or endorse SNMA material highlighting the importance of the provision of milk to the School Food Standards. We also explored the possibility of Dr Hilary writing an article for the NAHT’s magazine.
Following our meeting with SNP Health Spokesperson Dr Philippa Whitford earlier in the summer, we sent out a series of FOI requests to Scottish Local Authorities to gain an insight into the provision of school milk in the country’s primary schools. We will use the information gained to go back to her and explore the potential for further work.

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