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Review into school dinners ordered
Ministers have ordered a review of school dinners amid concerns that some children are still being given unhealthy food.
Around four-fifths of schools do not offer pupils at least one portion of fruit and vegetables a day, while half of secondaries serve up starchy, oily food on a regular basis, according to official figures.
The review will be led by Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, co-founders of the Leon restaurant chain, the Department for Education (DfE) said.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has faced strong criticism in recent months from TV chef Jamie Oliver, who has expressed concern that academies are exempt from tough food standards which apply to other state schools.
The new review, which was welcomed by campaigners, will investigate school dinners across the country, and establish an "action plan" on how all schools can improve food standards. Part of the review will involve looking at the factors which influence the choices schools make about food, the DfE said.
Mr Gove said: "There has been an improvement in school food in recent years, with many schools transforming school dinners, introducing food growing into the curriculum and teaching cookery. However, there is still more to do, particularly in taking localised successes and ensuring they are replicated nationally."
Judy Hargadon, chief executive of the School Food Trust, said she was "delighted" that Mr Dimbleby and Mr Vincent are leading the review.
"Even aside from the proven benefits of good school food for children's behaviour and concentration, it has such enormous potential to improve public health. With one in three children overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, we have to make sure this is being fully realised."
Mr Dimbleby and Mr Vincent are due to report back with their findings next year. The Leon chain, which has 13 restaurants in London and the South East, describes itself as offering good, nutritional and affordable food.
Ministers said that in the seven years since Oliver's campaign for healthy dinners there has been a "measurable improvement" in the nutritional quality of the food and in the numbers eating school meals. This is due to the work of many people, the DfE said.