IF a school wants to offer a vending machine facility, school authorities should choose one selling healthier options, declares mother-of-five Rose Tully of the National Parents' Council Post Primary.
There are a lot of vending machines in schools which have junk foods. I believe schools should select the healthy option." Parents should have a voice in what foods are put on offer, she says, and parents' associations can play an important role here.
A former chairperson of the parents' association and of the board of management at the school her children attended, Ms Tully recalls how concerned parents changed the policy on vending machines in the school.
"We asked the principal whether something could be done about the vending machines. The principal had a new machine installed offering water and fruit drinks."
Fundraising and a number of education grants meant the school was able to build a state-of-the-art canteen which sells healthy cooked meals. Parents should request that either a healthy option be available from vending machines or that they simply are got rid of, she says.