This week the Government’s official school food advisors and fast food restaurateurs John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby stated that the current school dinner system in this country is “economically bust”. I agree that adequate resource is not being invested in school food. I agreed with that when Jamie Oliver drew our attention to this issue with such passion several years ago. In their private sector wisdom, however, the Leon duo don’t see this as something that government should fix. Instead, they have suggested that the solution lies in banning packed lunches and forcing parents to buy school meals for their children instead.

Sounds like a lunch tax to me but putting aside my views on the business model, I have a fundamental problem with this fruitcake idea. I have never seen anything in my 14 years as a mum to make me believe that “the system” can feed my children better than I can. In most school canteens – even those that pride themselves on being healthy because they have removed vending machines and the daily chips option – mountains of white carbs, processed proteins and over-cooked vegetables are still passed off as a balanced menu. Salad bars (a new addition to some schools) are stuffed with mayonnaise drooled pasta, tuna mayonnaise and mayonnaise laden coleslaw. The few good bits simply get swamped by the crap (not unlike the government’s education policy actually but that’s a different blog altogether… )

Some schools do already “police” their students’ packed lunches. Sounds reasonable in theory but, in practice, why would a teacher with no specialist training in child nutrition have a better understanding than me of what is healthy and what is not? In one school that I know of a heated debate ensued when a young teacher chastised a child for having cake in their lunchbox. The child’s parents argued that her organic, gluten- free, high-fibre , fruit muffins (I exaggerate only slightly, I know several “extreme baking “mums) were far healthier than many foodstuffs which were permitted in the school, like yoghurts filled with sugar, sweeteners and artificial flavourings. I can’t remember who won that particular argument but when it comes to what goes in my children’s packed lunches these are the sort of judgements I want to make myself. I don’t expect, or want, teachers to make them for me.

Then of course there’s the newest elephant in the room - or should I say ruddy great horse. To be fair to Vincent and Dimbleby, they could not have foreseen that in the same week they put forward an idea that all parents should be forced to buy school lunches, meat products up and down the country would be being withdrawn from supermarket shelves faster than you can say “I fancy a nut roast”. It does rather taint their message though. Dodgy meat isn't only in our supermarkets, it has also been found in the burgers and Bolognese sauces that are served to children in our schools. Why on Mary Berry’s good earth would I want to pay for my children to eat that kind of product?

There are some things that I trust the State to do - even under this coalition –but feeding my children is not - and will never be - one of them.