Friday, 11 June 2010

Let them eat cake

Give a simple job to a bureaucrat and then stand back and watch them make a complete hash of things. The latest example of the stupidity of officialdom is the response by the Department for Education to the call for a relaxation in school nutritional standards for boarding schools. Some of you may remember a few years back, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver tried to draw attention to the poor nutritional standards in Britain's state schools. The result of Jamie's campaign was the setting up of the School Food Trust: a bloated and overfed outfit that's provided a large stone for a number of nutritionists to crawl under.

The new stringent rules surrounding school food standards mean that the nation's 35 state boarding schools can no longer feed children in their care anything that is high in fat, sugar or salt... not even as a treat. A cake and a cup of tea after games and before homework? NO! Verboten. Sausages? Banned! Butter? Banned! Breakfast cereal? Banned... unless it's All Bran, of course.

The rules for school meals were designed for day schools, not boarding schools that provide children's food seven days a week. The poor little sods are now forced to follow some nutritionist's wet dream around the clock. Never mind the fact that the school is their home and that means a bit of comfort food or stodge is occasionally called for.

Paul Spencer Ellis, headmaster of Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate, Surrey, said: "The whole logic is that the regulations are for a day school where the parents aren't going to feed them properly at home, but in a boarding school we do all their meals.

"But, as it stands, pupils come into the boarding house after school and they want to grab some carbs and it's illegal. It's illegal for me to give them a sticky bun."

Mr Spencer Ellis asked the bureaucrats what would happen if he relaxed the guidelines and was told he would be prosecuted if he did and could face jail for contempt of court.

There are times when I think only a stout piece of rope and a tall lamppost will solve some of our problems. What is it about some public servants? Where do they get their common sense chip removed? But as my father always says: "The trouble with common sense is that it's not that common".


  1. "The trouble with common sense is that it's not that common". but oh so true on so many levels of government and even among the 'common folk'.

    Let the boarded kiddies have some comfort food!

  2. It is nice how they jump to make a law/rule with out think it though first. they should be extra bits for boarding school in it.

  3. This particular law came from our previous government. They were so full of class hatred they wouldn't even cross the road to piss on a burning boarding school kid let alone consider their needs.

  4. But as my father always says: "The trouble with common sense is that it's not that common".

    We must be related. Dad always says that to me too.

  5. Australian cousin... Excellent.

  6. I always thought common sense was but common foolishness with perhaps a mere twitch of a gland.

    But there again, I'm just killing time,
    - until time kills me.


  7. All these years I thought "The Ministry of Silly Walks" was just a bit of fun,seems to have morphed into several other Minstries, do you think I could get a grant to see if hitting a public servant over the head repeatly increases their intelligence?

  8. Hah. They soon won't be able to represent Britain in sports. Did you see the article about the food that was shipped to South Africa to sustain the England team? They train hard and are supremely fit and are still allowed their KitKats. I'm sure most of their diet is nutritionally sound but even Capello, a hard taskmaster, doesn't have a problem with a chocolate bar now and again. Although I would draw the line at Pot Noodle.


  9. Chris in Melbourne12 June 2010 at 13:51

    Hi XTM, you're looking well!
    That food thing is bonkers!

    An aside for Rod, my fellow countryman.
    I would say, couched in Sir Humphrey type language, that a grant is extremely possible. If you are in Victoria there are literally dozens of pages concerning same. Some relevant to getting cashed up. There's even one to apply for that helps you fill out an application Probably, at the conclusion if a grant was given, your work would be published by the Government Bookshop or the University Press. Why I say probably, is that one grant given to an author some years back didnt have any estimate as to when the draft would be delivered. It hasnt yet. Also recently Bryce Courtenay made the claim that it was possible to make a living your entire life getting grants. So getting one might not be much use in the bigger picture of research into aversion therapy solutions for the daft public service, but hey,you could have a lot of fun doing it.


  10. As a result, the boarding kids will turn to totally despise their school's nutrition and roam around the local shops for sugar&fat. There's not only a total lack of feeling for children's needs but also a lack of thinking the long run.
    Poor kiddies.

  11. Well, it makes me glad my kids are not in boarding school! The no salt/no sugar/no nothing diet would kill one of them!

    Kids NEED fat in their diet, ask a dietician!

    Not a fan of boarding schools but would never wish this sort of food censorship on any of them!

  12. A cake and a cup of tea after games and before homework? NO! Verboten. Sausages? Banned! Butter? Banned! Breakfast cereal?

    This kind of thing always makes me wonder what will happen when they are left to their own devices. Does that environment result in kids/young adults not gaining a taste for fat,sugar? Or kids that go crazy for it when they are released. Im pretty sure I would have liked a bit of chocolate anyway!

    What about the concept of moderation with food? I hope they get that at home, its a pretty important concept.

  13. And whats wrong with their wealthy parents parceling up some sweet treats and posting it to them ! Sorry TM but poor didums boarding school kids can't have cake! Nah not buying that one. They should think themselves lucky their parents can afford to buy them an education and if cake is so important maybe their parents shouldn't send them in the first place

    Nothing against boarding schools everyone has a right to spend their money how they choose but .... rich kids lack of cake is not the first thing on my list for sympathy sorry .....

  14. I think you've got the wrong end of the stick. These are state (public) boarding schools so no fees involved other than boarding costs. Not many rich parents at these places. The story is important not for the fact that these kids can't eat cake, but that bureaucrats make silly rules without thinking through the consequences properly.

  15. Still 'boarding costs' doubt many parents fall below the poverty line ! Sorry but at the end of the day its cake. The can still get 'parcels' sent in. Its cake TM and state or private, a privileged education. And bureaucrats make far silly and far more devastating decisions than wether a few children can eat cake.

    Nah, been with you most of the way but you're not going to convince me to get behind you on this one. :) xxx

    Hope progress still good? xxxx

  16. Chris In Melbourne15 June 2010 at 12:54

    Hi XTM
    Hows the healing going?
    I see that your new chaps are going to take a big stick to daft bits of the Elfin Safety and a few other things. That could be interesting if it extends to the twerps that dreamt those regulations up.Just dont let a two week course dietician near them.

  17. Apologies XTM for taking this off course. I need the recipe for the cake in the picture. Once I get that, I can then make a contribution to the points made. All your fault for posting a picture of a luscious cake!

  18. These boarding schools are ones like in the Highlands of Scotland where the travelling times make it infeasible to get to school each day. Many of the kids go home for the weekend so they could pick their cakes up then.

    High energy food is needed with growing children.

    In fact the government have already realised that the dietary advice has gone too far for toddlers:

  19. As a teacher who has taught in boarding schools, this government advice is very disquieting. Boarding schools are often used by wealthy people to discard their unwanted kids, especially after a second marriage. These kids do not need further deprivations!

  20. May I have either the recipe or the shop where I canbuy that cake please?

    However I agree that the public servants have gone a step too far as usual, why do they not consult schools over these programms first (especially ones from outside London?

  21. I don't have a recipe but Marks & Spencer could well sell a chocolate cake like that.

  22. Maybe this will help.


    * 2 cups flour
    * 1 cup butter
    * 1 cup of water
    * 1 tsp baking soda
    * 1 cup of sugar
    * 1 tsp salt
    * 1 cup of brown sugar
    * Lemon juice
    * 4 large eggs
    * Handful of nuts
    * 2 bottles wine
    * 2 cups of dried fruit

    Sample the wine to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the wine again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the wine is still OK. Try another cup ... Just in case. Turn off the mixer thingy. Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

    Pick the frigging fruit up off floor. Mix on the turner.. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the wine to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Check the wine. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or some fink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window. Finish the wine and wipe counter with the cat.
    Go to Coles or Woolies and buy cake.


  23. That is sooo funny Theo! Similar to one about making a cake with a toddler! (without the wine-well, maybe whine)


  24. Brill Theo a perfect recipe. You must be a relation of Floyd :)

  25. Sarah - London18 June 2010 at 14:54

    Good afternoon all!

    Hey - Theo - have you been stealing my recipes again! (well apart from wiping the counter with the cat - that would be unhygienic). Someone gave me a coaster which says "I love to cook with wine, sometimes I add it to the food".

    Anyone - best wishes to all on Prawn Friday. Dear ETM - Hope all is progressing well leg-wise. The Chelsea Gang send their best to Whisky.

    PS a funny from my sister - she is doing staff appraisals - one staff member in Harvey Nichols and the other in McDonalds - work out how their appraisals are going!

    Have a great weekend and hope that England do their stuff later (being selfish or I will never hear the end of it!)

    Best - Cats' Mother

  26. Happy Friday, Sarah. Rehab going well. Tired but improving.

  27. Chris in Melbourne19 June 2010 at 15:09

    Hi XTM!
    Everything proceeding to plan?
    Our hope is that you are coming along OK.

    A bit off thread, but earlier I mentioned getting grants. This is one of the latest, not strictly State Government, but sponsored by a not for profit Cultural Organisation in partnership.

    Time for Oz v Ghana in that round ball game,