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Pupils grow their own veg for lunches

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: September 03, 2014

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A café has teamed up with a village school to help ensure that the new term started with free hot meals for pupils as the Government desires.

The main building at Nunney First School, near Frome was built in 1895. It has no kitchens and school leaders knew they would need to buy in meals.

Castle Kitchen, just down the road in the heart of the village offered its services, and there will be an added reason for the children to want to tuck in.

Food tastes all the better when you have grown it yourself and vegetables produced by pupils in the school's poly tunnel will be on the menu as the weeks go by. Past crops have included carrots, onions, peas and strawberries.

On the first day of term yesterday, meals were delivered to the school so that the 30 infants could enjoy their first hot meal on the premises. There are 46 children in total on the school roll. The older pupils will be able to have a hot meal too for a modest fee, and staff can join in too.

Lyn Clark, school administrator, said: "It's going to be absolutely brilliant. They are local meals made just five minutes down the road, and vegetables from the poly tunnels such as tomatoes and courgettes will be among ingredients.

"The café will also do packed lunches for school trips, and staff can order a hot meal if they want.

"The meals, and the fact that the children will sometimes be eating things they have grown will be used in lessons. The children will learn about growth for example, it is going to be transformational."

A band of adult volunteers called the Mucky Pups already help with the poly tunnels and are encouraged to work along the curriculum as they introduce the children from the first school and pre-school to healthy food. In 2012 the Mucky Pups entered Nunney Flower Show and won many prizes.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has defended the launch of the £1 billion free meals scheme.

Almost two million infants will be fed at their primary school at no cost to their parents starting from yesterday.

But critics say the money should be used in the classroom instead and council leaders have claimed authorities and schools are being forced to raid budgets to ensure the plans goes ahead.

Mr Clegg has insisted that providing lunch for every five to seven-year-old at England's 16,500 primary schools will be more beneficial than some attempts to boost academic achievements.

He told the BBC: "The evidence, and this has been exhaustively analysed, piloted, examined, is that giving a healthy hot meal at lunchtime is as, if not more, effective than many of the, say, literacy and numeracy initiatives which have been undertaken in the past in the classroom. It has a dramatic effect."

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