HEALTHY SCHOOL meals lead to better behaved pupils who are more alert in class, according to a report published by the Soil Association and Business in the Community.

The report claims that pupils who eat meals made with fresh, unprocessed ingredients and who have access to drinking water have better concentration and improved attention spans.

The students are also less likely to be hyperactive and are calmer and more alert in class, says the document called Looking for innovation in healthy school meals.

The report suggests that the extra cost of better-quality ingredients and labour is offset by the increased sales of meals, meaning that the cost of meals does not have to rise.

In schools where healthy, tasty meals are provided uptake of school meals consistently doubles so that the majority of children eat a hot, nutritious meal each day.

Peter Melchett, the Soil Association‘s policy director said: “The benefits for children and society as a whole are overwhelming.

“This report provides powerful new evidence to support the welcome policies on school meals just announced by the government in the Public Health White Paper.”

Julia Cleverdon, chief executive of Business in the Community said: “Local sourcing of fresh food for healthy school meals clearly provides a great opportunity for local business and British farmers.

“What‘s more, it develops powerful links between local business leaders and schools, creating opportunities to bring the curriculum to life and making learning relevant.”