School canteen rating shock

Parents were last night told that their children's school dinners were “safe” to eat - even though their canteen was named among the worst food outlets in Norwich by inspectors.

Parents were last night told that their children's school dinners were “safe” to eat - even though their canteen was named among the worst food outlets in Norwich by inspectors.

Norman First School was the only city school to be given zero stars out of five by Norwich City Council in its Safer Food Award scheme.

The zero rating means that the catering facilities have failed to satisfy food hygiene laws, or fallen short for structure and cleanliness and confidence in management.

Despite the rating Chris Cope, operations manager for Norfolk County Services (NCS), the meal provider at the school, said: “We would like to reassure parents that the food being cooked and served at Norman First School is safe. If we were not satisfied that this is the case, we would not allow food preparation to continue there.”

He added that the building was “not in good condition” and was due to be demolished this summer as part of a project to construct a new, multi-million pound primary school - including a “state of the art” kitchen.

Mr Cope said the council inspection happened over a year ago, and all the remedial work required had been carried out. He added: “Given that the kitchen was - and is - safe, we could not have justified a full rebuild, spending public money on a structure that was set be demolished in the near future.”

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The kitchen at the lower school site of the Blyth-Jex School, on Wall Road, received zero stars in December 2005, which improved to a single star in July last year.

The lower school canteen was closed immediately after the second inspection, and all catering is now handled at the main school site, on St Clements Hill, which has four stars.