Communities Committee calls for Health and Nutrition Bill to include independent schools and early years sector

16/01/2007

Proposals to promote health and nutrition in schools were endorsed by the Scottish Parliament’s Communities Committee today. View the committee's report

The Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Bill aims to promote health in schools, ensure all food and drink available to pupils meets nutritional standards and increase the uptake of school meals.

In its Stage 1 Report, the committee endorses the general principles of the bill, which will make health a central component to schooling and introduce nutritional requirements, but calls for the proposed legislation to apply to the pre-school and independent sector.

Committee Convener, Karen Whitefield MSP, said:

"It is clear from the evidence heard by the committee that there is a pressing need to tackle the poor health and nutrition of Scotland ’s young people. These proposals will build on the Scottish Executive’s Hungry for Success initiative as well as help to improve the understanding of nutrition and the importance of exercise and healthy lifestyle choices among the young.

"The committee wholeheartedly supports the introduction of a duty to promote health in education authority schools and the introduction of nutritional requirements for all food and drink served. However, all children in Scotland should benefit from nutritious food, activities and education to promote healthy lifestyles.

"We call on the Scottish Executive to bring forward proposals which will ensure the health promotion duty and the nutritional requirements can also be applied to independent schools and the early years sector.

"More generally, we heard that there is a limited range of healthy and nutritional snacks available. We call on food and drink manufacturers to develop more genuinely nutritious products that can be provided in schools.”

Background

The Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Bill makes provision for the promotion of health in certain schools and certain school hostels, and will amend the law in relation to the provision of food and drink for certain pupils.

The committee held ten meetings to discuss the bill during which it heard from 32 witnesses, and received 40 written submissions.

  • The Communities Committee also visited Hurlford Primary School in Kilmarnock and Drumchapel High School in Glasgow. It held a video conference with staff and pupils from the Janet Courtney Hall of Residence in Lerwick on the Shetland Isles.

The bill is expected to go before the full Parliament for debate later in January. Parliament will then decide whether it should proceed to Stage 2 consideration. If it passes all three parliamentary stages it is expected to receive Royal Assent later in 2007.