On Friday 12 July 2013 the Department for Education published the School Food Plan. This plan is the outcome of the review of school food commissioned by the Secretary of State for Education in July 2012 and was carried out by independent restaurateurs, Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent. It has the endorsement of both the DfE and Ofsted and draws together best practice in the UK and abroad to deliver a practical action plan to increase the quality and take up of school meals in order to improve children’s health and learning outcomes.
The report outlines the importance of good quality school food for children and examines how to improve quality and encourage take up. Current take up of school meals nationally is around 43 per cent of children and the report highlights that schools typically need 50 per cent take up in order for the service to break even. With devolved budgets at a school level, the pressure for individual schools to break even will grow and the report provides a very useful resource for schools who wish to retain, improve or grow their provision of school meals, including a checklist for head teachers. Of interest to NAHT members, it also:
Makes a resounding case for why this is something that school leaders should be providing, not least because Ofsted will be developing new guidance for its inspectors to consider behaviour and culture in the dining hall, and what schools are doing to promote healthy lifestyles.
Outlines how they have influenced the government to put cooking and food into the curriculum for key stages 1 to 3, and to review the current food standards to make them simpler and easier for schools to be creative.
Details the £11.8 million that the DfE has made available to school food charities to work with schools to increase their provision and help them break even, as well as the £3.15 million to increase breakfast club provision.
The report is also accompanied by a very useful website with resources and tools that can be accessed at http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/
Page Published: 22/07/2013