Government launches new school meals qualification

A new vocational qualification for dinner ladies will be launched this autumn, as part of the government’s pledge to improve school meals in England and Wales.

Speaking at Unison’s conference on school meals, education secretary Ruth Kelly revealed the training scheme would be introduced in a bid to improve standards.

“We are determined to put in place a ladder of qualifications that recognises the value and importance of catering staff and helps them get on at work,” she said.

The new scheme is currently awaiting accreditation by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, and training support will be provided by the Learning and Skills Council.

A review of existing food preparation qualifications is being undertaken by People 1st, the Food Standards Agency and the Teaching Training Agency.

However, dinner ladies’ representatives have warned of an approaching crisis in morale in staff following Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners programme and moves by the government which dinner ladies perceive as an attack on their competence.

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