Catalogue description Ministry of Education: Inspectorate: Reports and Surveys on School Meals Service

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Details of ED 194
Reference: ED 194
Title: Ministry of Education: Inspectorate: Reports and Surveys on School Meals Service

Printed Ministry of Education inspectorate reports on the school meals service within each educational authority together with copies of the minutes of meetings between the inspectors and the authorities.

Subjects covered in the reports included the nutritional value of the meals, the kitchens and utensils and the supervision of the kitchen staff and the children.

Those files for England cover the years 1956-1965, and for Wales 1954-1961.

Date: 1954-1965

Alphabetical order of counties followed by county boroughs, with a separate section for Wales.

Related material:

Other papers relating to the school meals service can be found in ED 50

Files dealing with the provision of school meals by the individual LEAs are in ED 123

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Department of Education and Science, HM Inspectorate (England), 1964-1973

Department of Education and Science, HM Inspectorate (Wales), 1964-1973

Ministry of Education, Inspectorate (England), 1944-1964

Ministry of Education, Inspectorate (Wales), 1944-1964

Physical description: 70 file(s)
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Administrative / biographical background:

Meals have been provided in schools since the beginning of the century and the Education (Provision of Meals) Act 1906 was introduced with the object of ensuring that children attending public elementary schools should not be prevented from profiting by the education offered because of lack of food.

Until the outbreak of the Second World War, meals in elementary schools were provided almost exclusively for needy children. In 1939 it became national policy to provide a main mid-day meal in school for all children whose parents wanted them to have it. From 1940, local education authorities (LEAs) were encouraged to extend and improve the meals service by the introduction of a Government grant of 70% and later 90% of expenditure on the service and by special priority in the supply of rationed and non-rationed food, premises and equipment.

Advice as to the nutritional content of meals was given in Board of Education Circular 1571 (1941). As a result of these measures a million school dinners a day were being served by 1942 and 1.85 million a day by 1945. Plans were rapidly produced for a range of standard prefabricated kitchen/dining rooms, some of which are still in use.

The Education Act 1944 gave LEAs a statutory duty to provide school meals for all primary and secondary school pupils who wanted them, and the 1945 edition of the 'Provision of Milk and Meals Regulations' set out required standards for these meals. The number of meals served continued to rise to about 5 million a day in 1972.

Full financial responsibility for the school meals service passed to the LEAs in April 1967 and the Inspectorate ceased to have a direct interest in the service. The content of meals etc was then commented on only as part of normal school inspections.

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