Healthy school could win title

WHEN it comes to promoting a healthy food, one school in East Anglia takes the biscuit - or should that be 'oat biscuit'?Nacton Primary School, near Ipswich, has already won national recognition for helping its 80 pupils to lead a healthier lifestyle.

WHEN it comes to promoting a healthy food, one school in East Anglia takes the biscuit - or should that be 'oat biscuit'?

Nacton Primary School, near Ipswich, has already won national recognition for helping its 80 pupils to lead a healthier lifestyle.

But now its nutritional menus have secured its place in the final stages of a contest to find the healthiest school in the country - and it is the only one in the south to reach the shortlist.

It went up against 19 other schools, including its nearest competitor, Stowmarket Middle, in the second round of the McDougalls Healthiest School Food Award 2007.

It is now fighting schools in Doncaster, Midlothian, Derbyshire, Bolton and Lancashire for the final three places.

And the focus is on headteacher Elizabeth Ditton, as she will have to undergo a telephone interview with the judges.

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If the school passes this hurdle it will then receive a visit from members of the panel, which will see its achievements firsthand and hear what the children think.

But Mrs Ditton seems unfazed by the pressure, as there is so much to say about the school's healthy approach - from its bumper vegetable patch to the fruit given out at break-time, the compost-making “recycling pig” to the jogging after assembly.

She said: “It is very exciting that we are the only one in East Anglia and the south-east of England to get this far.

“The actual award recognises school meals and over 80 per cent of our children have a school meal - that is the second highest in Suffolk.

“We see lunch as very important. We have tablecloths and matching jugs and cups. We use the school council, made up of representatives from each class, for feedback on what they like and suggestions for changes.”

Nacton primary submitted a week of menus for analysis by a panel of expert nutritionists, who scrutinised the number of calories, fat and sugar levels, vitamins and minerals. Far from the burgers and chips served up a decade ago in schools, Nacton's pupils tuck into Italian cheese wraps and can take their pick of organically-grown vegetables.

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