Jamie's dinners improve behaviour, schools say

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Schools which took part in the TV chef's experiment to provide nutritious meals report a massive improvement in children's concentration in lessons and a drop in the number of fights between pupils.

Children were now returning to afternoon lessons ready to learn having eaten a healthy lunch, whereas a diet of junk food and sugary snacks had previously left them aggressive and unable to concentrate, schools in Greenwich, south London, where Oliver pioneered his healthy eating programme, said yesterday.

The biggest improvements have been seen in the children who had displayed the worst behaviour.

Trisha Jaffe, the headteacher at Kidbrooke School, said: "Sugary and processed foods have a high impact on children's concentration and we found their behaviour would deteriorate in the afternoon."

Greenwich was featured in the Channel 4 series Jamie's School Dinners, in which the chef expressed horror at the food fed to children in schools. He said: "I would feed it to my dog, but I wouldn't feed it to my mate, or my children."

Ministers have since pledged an extra £220m to improve school meals.

Greenwich Council intends to offer the new menus in all its secondary and primary schools. A spokesman said: "Schools are reporting better behaviour and sickness in kitchen staff has gone down. Staff feel more motivated."

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