In summary, in a matter of days, here is what they will have achieved:
- they will have removed the hot meal service from 14 of the 18 Council Nursery Schools in the city
- they will have removed kitchen staff (and hot-food preparation) from 6 Primary Schools
- they will have removed the offer of a hot meal on a Friday lunchtime from all Secondary Schools
It just flies completely in the face of the £757,686 spent on 29 school kitchen upgrades, and the £140,000 spent on 26 school dining-furniture upgrades, under the "Hungry for Success" programme, right here in Edinburgh over the last few years.
That's nearly £1million of investment ... now being completely undermined.
And two separate events today have really brought home to me JUST HOW BAD this policy blunder is:
- some Nursery campaigners delivered the 'packed lunches' (which are now being given to most Nursery School children) to the City Chambers at lunchtime today. I couldn't be present, but several of my colleagues were there and tell me the food was pretty appalling :-(
- I visited Kirkliston Primary School this lunchtime (thus my absence above!), along with George Foulkes MSP, and had a very enjoyable hot-lunch, served on the premises, with the Primary School children. They won't be getting any such meals after Friday because the kitchen is getting 'mothballed' and meals are to be shipped in from Echline Primary :-((
What's happening is just plain stupid.
- We're constantly being reminded (quite rightly so) about the importance of good nutrition for the very young - thus the insanity of the Nursery decision?
- And Kirkliston Primary, which has a huge uptake of cooked meals, is about to have an extension added increasing its school-role quite substantially - thus the unintelligible decision to 'mothball' its on-site kitchen??
Someone, somewhere, in power needs to have a long-hard look at this whole sorry saga; and quickly reverse a very poor set of decisions.
If they did so, I'd welcome it unequivocally.