Can you remember watching Jamie’s School Dinners and being horrified at what UK and US schools were serving up to kids on a daily basis?

Can you remember shaking your head in disbelief as school principals, canteen supervisors and local administrators continually argued that healthy food wasn’t financially viable in a school setting?

I mean, seriously. Imagine if that happened in Australia. There’d be uproar surely. As a healthy outdoorsy country we wouldn’t tolerate kids being served that kind of stuff on a daily basis would we?

Well apparently we would.

And what’s worse is that the argument for doing so is largely financial.

I’m not going to sugar coat this, or even artificially sweeten it. This is a disgrace.

I’m not sure if these schools have realized this but obesity rates in Australia are climbing faster than anywhere else in the world, so to read that “school canteens are still selling soft drinks, iced teas and sports waters despite sugary drinks being banned from public school tuckshops since 2007, while others are offering cheap meal deals with fried food and cans of drink, prompting concerns that students’ diets are getting worse.

“Some high schools sell drinks which are on the NSW Department of Education’s banned food list, while many others, sell fried food, hot dogs and slushies.”

According to the article privately run tuck shops earned the Department of Education around $5.5million – maybe that can help fund the Healthy Harold program.

Some school tuck shops earn around $50,000 for their school. So obviously they need to ensure what they offer actually sells.

But let’s be clear, the Dept of Education put out mandatory guidelines that schools are deliberately flouting to earn a buck.

Maybe we need a cheeky cockney celebrity chef to shine a light on it before anyone does anything.

Author: Dan Haesler is a teacher, consultant and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars. His website is: and he tweets at @danhaesler