"Major improvements" needed at school's kitchen

A SCHOOL kitchen inspectors found to have peeling paint, no hand-washing facilities and dirty equipment left lying around served up a celebration feast just days later.

Maltby Manor Junior School was rated one out of five after the Food Standards Agency inspected it in July - the second lowest possible rating, which means major improvements were needed.

But barely a week after the damning assessment, parents and pupils were fed from the kitchen after their school leavers’ assembly.

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One mum said: “The kids are due back next week - why should they have to eat there?”

Inspectors said in their report following the July 6 visit that improvements were needed in hygienic food handling and kitchen cleanliness.

They added that “major improvements” were needed in food safety management, which includes staff knowledge of safe service.

The inspectors noted that there was no hot water water in the kitchen for hand-washing during their visit - though this problem was rectified.

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A can opener was dirty, posing a risk of food cross-contamination, they said, and the condition of walls in the kitchen and store rooms was “poor”.

Peeling paint made cleaning walls and surfaces difficult and raised the risk of paint flecks falling into food.

There was no suitable food safety monitoring system in place, leading inspectors to have little confidence in kitchen management.

Catering services at the school are provided by Maltby Manor Academy, of which Maltby Manor Infant School - awarded five out of five in a recent inspection - is also a part.

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The mum, who asked not to be named, noticed the poor score this week while checking out scores for her local takeaways.

She said: “My daughter goes to Maltby Junior and I was alarmed when I saw the score.

“It’s the lowest of any school in Rotherham - most scored four or five.”

She added: “At the school leavers’ assembly on July 15, all the parents were served food from that kitchen.

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“If you went to a restaurant and they had a rating of one, you wouldn’t want to eat there.”

The Food Standards Authority inspects for hygienic handling of food including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage.

Kitchen cleanliness and condition are also checked, including layout, ventilation, hand washing facilities and pest control.

It assesses any system or checks in place to ensure that food sold or served is safe to eat and that staff know about food safety.

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Some of the problems in the junior school kitchen have since been fixed, a Rotherham Borough Council spokeswoman said, and it will be reinspected within three months.

David Sutton, chief executive of Maltby Academy Trust said: “The trust is committed to securing the highest possible standards in every aspect of its work and in five out of the six establishments in the trust the catering rating is the highest possible.

“The issues which led to this particular rating were resolved quickly following the initial visit and we now await a follow up visit to review the original grading.

“We want to assure students, parents and carers that no one was has been put at risk.”