I can’t be doing with Jamie Oliver, but apparently he spearheaded some kind of school dinner revolution. I thought schools were all about healthy eating these days, but Tom’s isn’t, so I got fed up and wrote an email to his headteacher.
This is not a complaint, I wrote, it’s more like feedback, or constructive criticism.
I then went on to hammer out five hundred words about how I don’t like the fact Tom seems to eat pizza, chips and chocolate pudding for lunch at school, especially because it costs over £300 a year. And how putting a pile of salad on the side of the plate does not a healthy meal make. Yes, I know, I could send him with a packed lunch. But having to think about preparing one of those at midnight would only add to the long list of things that need doing when I should be writing.
When I went to collect Tom from school yesterday, his headteacher collared me.
“Ah! Tom’s Mum,” he said, “You’ve just saved me from having to write a very long email. Would you like to come to my office for a chat?”
Balls. I can be sanctimonious on paper, but not in real life.
It’s a long time since I’ve been in a headteacher’s office. It turns out they still have the same low down, scratchy brown chairs and the same filing cabinets and they still smell of must and being in big trouble. What if he was going to tell me that every other child in the school ate their pile of salad and it was Tom who had the problem? Or that I should put him on packed lunches if I didn’t like it? I was sure I was going to get ripped to shreds.
It turns out the headmaster agreed with everything I said, but because the school doesn’t have its own kitchen, they have to outsource their catering. The catering company say they offer two options (of which, he said, most children will pick the least healthy.)
“It’s mainly the cakes I object to,” I said. “I’m sure I read somewhere that this area has some of the worst dental health statistics in the country.”
“They’re actually the worst.” he said.
“There you go then.”
“Excuse me..” said Tom.
“Just a minute Tom,” I said, ” There’s no need for the cakes. Why not just offer them yogurt and fruit?”
“Excuse me..” said Tom, again.
“Yes?” said the headteacher, “Well done for being so polite.”
“Well,” Tom huffed, “Me and Auntie Anna made a big tray of smiley face cakes and when my Mum got back from Glastonbury, she ate loads and loads of them. There were like two or maybe three left for me.”