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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Scotch Eggs and Feedback

A primary school in Essex has banned various "unhealthy" snacks from pupils' lunchboxes. Teachers inspect pupils' lunchboxes and confiscate banned items.

The right-wing press is particularly aggrieved about the banning and confiscation of scotch eggs, which they appear to regard as an upper class snack. The Telegraph informs us that "they were created almost 300 years ago by Fortnum+Mason as a pocket-sized snack for aristocrats travelling by horse-drawn carriage". And Quentin Letts in the Mail enthuses about the scotch eggs at his prep school, with a sidebar describing the products sold today by a range of supermarkets including M+S and Waitrose. 

However, what struck me most about the story was the response from the school.
"Our healthy lunch box policy has been in place for some time and the majority of parents are very supportive of it. The decision to take additional steps to ensure all pupils are adhering to the policy was taken following feedback from parents and as part of our continued efforts to make improvements to all areas of the school. All school meals we serve comply with the government's school food standards, as required by law."

Feedback? The correct use of the word, according to Wikipedia, is when outputs of a system are "fed back" as inputs as part of a chain of cause-and-effect that forms a circuit or loop. In this context, the word probably means something like "a few random comments to which we have decided to overreact".

In the Deal and Kennedy model of organizational culture, a process-based culture is characterized by low risk and slow feedback. See my post On Agility, Culture and Intelligence (November 2012).



Dan Hyde, Scotch eggs branded junk food and confiscated from children's packed lunches (Telegraph 9 June 2015)

Quentin Letts, Keep your hands off my rusty cannonballs: As an Essex school outlaws Scotch eggs, QUENTIN LETTS explains why he's a life-long devotee (11 June 2015)

Wikipedia: Feedback, Organizational Culture

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