Following in the foot ““ steps of the boom in vocational training, and with the call of UNISON echoing in her ears, Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Education, is set to announce today that school dinner ladies are the next to receive a vocational qualification.
This development follows the announcement of a £280 million pound investment programme in school meal provision, which was released on the same day that celebrity chef Jamie Oliver arrived at Number 10 Downing Street with a petition with 270,000 signatures supporting his campaign to improve school dinners (which he brought to the public’s attention with the hit Channel Four series Jamie’s School Dinners).
And now, after such huge publicity, Ruth Kelly is set to announce a training certification for all catering staff, which will “recognise for the first time the crucial skills and experience” that the “unsung heroes” in the kitchens bring to the job.
There has been a mixed reaction to the news, with UNISON expected to welcome this endorsement of their “Appetite for Life” campaign for better standards in school meals whilst managers at Kingswood Catering Firm have described it as a “knee jerk” reaction. Given the publicity surrounding this subject, the debate has only just begun.
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