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Jamies School Dinners

Vital Statistics


  • Over 4 million kids in England and Wales eat school dinners every day and 1.8 million are on free school meals.
  • This lunchtime meal provides them with one third of their daily nutritional intake.
  • It is prepared by the 110,000 dinner ladies who work in school kitchens.
  • And have on average between 35p and 45p to spend on food per meal, the cost of a bag of crisps.  This is not enough to provide a nutritionally balanced meal.
  • The average dinner lady wage is just £82 per week.  These ladies run some of the most important catering institutions in the country.
  • The value of meals served in educational establishments is over £1.1 billion each year.  School meals is big business.


  • 92% of kids consume more saturated fat; 83%, more sugar; and 50%, more salt than the maximum recommended levels for adults.  And they only eat one quarter of the recommended daily amount of fruit and veg.
  • Obesity levels in children have risen by over 50% in just seven years - 15.5% of kids under 11 are now obese.
  • Teenagers, especially girls, are lacking in iron and calcium. 
  • The recent DfES survey of secondary schools showed none met all of the Caroline Walker Trust guidelines over a one-week menu cycle, even though the balance of food satisfied the National Nutritional Standards.  (School Meals in Secondary Schools in England, DfES, 2004). 
  • Poor nutrition contributes to at least 30% of deaths from heart disease and 33% of deaths from cancer.
  • In another ten years time, the projected cost of tackling obesity and diet-related illnesses will be £3.6 billion.