Dáil Éireann - Volume 554 - 09 October, 2002
Written Answers. - School Meals.
Mr. Dennehy Mr. Dennehy
513. Mr. Dennehy asked the Minister for Education and Science if schools are legally entitled to ban students from eating crisps and fizzy drinks at lunchtime; if his Department has a policy on food and drink consumption during school hours; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15373/02]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey)
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): As the Deputy will be aware, schools are privately owned, privately managed institutions which, although funded by the State, enjoy a large degree of autonomy. It is, therefore, primarily a matter for each school to establish rules on what is and is not acceptable for students to do while on the school premises, provided that those rules are lawful, fair and reasonable. I am not aware of any rule of law which would prevent schools imposing a ban on eating certain foodstuffs, although any special dietary needs of students would have to be taken into account.
My Department supports the view that good nutrition is central to a child's educational development. Evidence from existing studies shows that there is a significant positive relationship between improved dietary status and school performance.
A knowledge of what constitutes a nutritionally balanced diet is acknowledged as being of importance for students. To support this, nutrition education is featured in the curriculum in both primary and post-primary schools.
Dáil Éireann 554 Written Answers. School Meals.