Ofsted’s report into tackling childhood obesity has come under fire, with food and farming group Sustain describing it as “hugely disappointing”.
The government’s school inspection agency suggested there was no link between school efforts to tackle obesity and pupils’ weight after comparing 60 primary schools across England.
Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman said: “We should not imagine that schools alone can have a direct and measurable impact on children’s weight. There are too many factors beyond the school gate that make this impossible for them to control.”
She continued: “Individual school-level actions, like having a nominated lead for obesity or having an on-site kitchen, are not likely in themselves to make a significant difference to children’s weight.”
The report was criticized by child obesity campaign groups, and even some of its own advisory panel members.
Sustain’s Children’s Food Campaign co-ordinator Barbara Crowther quipped in response that they were putting Ofsted itself into “special measures” following their report.
“This is a hugely disappointing response to the Government’s recently stated ambitious aim to halve child obesity by 2030. No-one expects schools to provide a ‘silver bullet’ or any other kind of responsibility-dodging cliché, but it is very clear that schools have a hugely important role to play.
"Ofsted has a clear role to play in providing visionary leadership and empowering effective frameworks for benchmarking progress and sharing good practice on making schools healthy food zones, but instead it seems to be offering platitudes and excuses.
“Right now, we’re putting Ofsted’s commitment to play its part in the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan Chapter Two into Special Measures.”