Overlooked issues of religious identity in the school dinners debate

Twiner, Alison; Cook, Guy and Gillen, Julia (2009). Overlooked issues of religious identity in the school dinners debate. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(4) pp. 473–488.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03057640903352457

Abstract

The TV broadcast of Jamie's school dinners in 2005 prompted action throughout the UK to improve the standards of school meals. A public debate continues across the media around changes, resistance to them and consequences. This article draws upon the findings of a one-year ESRC-funded project on the English school dinners debate, which analysed interviews with stakeholders, focus groups of primary and secondary pupils and their parents, and corpora of newspaper articles and relevant websites. We focus here on our finding of a neglected area of the debate: provision for religious diets, dealing in particular with halal. Despite many intentions by providers to meet complex requirements, these are imperfectly understood, and pupils requiring religious diets may not be benefiting from general reforms. Our analysis suggests that improved communications could lead to better understanding of need and take up of school meals provision.

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