Education Secretary slams schools for banning meat from lunch menus

Education Secretary Nadim Zahawi slams schools for banning meat from lunch menus and insists the issue is ‘for families to decide’

  • Nadhim Zahawi hit back at ‘vegetarian activism’ on display in some UK schools 
  • Minister has vowed to ‘look closely’ at issue and sided with Countryside Alliance 
  • Mr Zahawi said schools should offer a balanced range of foods, but it was ultimately for individual families to decide if their children should not eat meat 

The Education Secretary has slammed schools that have banned meat from their lunch menus, declaring the issue is ‘for families to decide.’

Nadim Zahawi has given his backing to the Countryside Alliance after the campaign group called for guidance to stop ‘vegetarian activism’ in some schools.

The minister vowed to ‘look closely’ at the issue, adding: ‘I completely agree with the Countryside Alliance: our farmers make an extraordinary contribution to the British countryside and the sustainability of their livestock system.

‘It is for families to decide whether meat is part of their child’s diet – not schools.

‘Schools should offer children a balanced, healthy range of food options and there is no reason at all why meat products should not be available to pupils for lunch.

‘The vast majority of schools already take this sensible approach and I encourage any outliers to follow their example.’

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, 54, has told schools to root out activist teachers after claims that ‘concerning’ race theories were being taught in classes and pupils as young as 10 were urged to write critical letters about the Prime Minister

Parents at Barrowford Primary School in Lancashire (pictured) were told earlier this month that meat was banned from their children’s canteen and lunch boxes

Parents at Barrowford Primary School in Lancashire were told earlier this month that meat was banned from their children’s canteen and lunch boxes.

Headteacher Rachel Tomlinson said she had made the decision in order to ‘stop climate change’ and cited the carbon footprint caused by the livestock industry.

In response, the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance wrote to Mr Zahawi calling for guidance against ‘agenda-driven policies.’

Tim Bonner said: ‘Where schools have implemented a ban on meat, parents have understandably reacted with anger, not least because it seems little to no consultation has taken place.

‘The dietary requirements of their children is a matter for them, not the school.

‘We need the Government to urgently review guidance to stop ideologically driven head teachers from implementing policies which suit their own agenda and in some cases, bias, against those who want their children to eat meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

‘No one should face discrimination based on their dietary preferences.’

In 2019, two schools – Greenhill Park Primary in West London and the Swan School in Oxford – banned meat from their menus.

The same policy followed in 2020 at Woolwich Polytechnic for Schools, in South East London, which also stopped pupils from bringing in packed lunches.

Last week, Mr Zahawi also revealed a new directive to stop teachers politicising the classroom and ‘promoting contested theories as fact’.

It followed a row over pupils at Welbeck Primary School in Nottingham who were encouraged to write letters to their local MP criticising Boris Johnson as a ‘hypocrite’ over Partygate.

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