School Food Plan

High-res Welcome Gary Palmer - a School Food Plan StorytellerAs a director of Taylor Shaw I have responsibility along with my colleagues for the delivery of more than 60,000 meals every day in secondary and primary schools across the country. Our prime focus is fresh food prepared daily on each site using our own fully trained staff. Having gained many contracts over the last few years it never ceases to amaze me that staff talk about the pride that is returned to them in their roles when we take over a contract. One comment we often hear is its like going back 10 years because that’s the way we used to prepare food at our school.
We had great expectations for the School Food Plan and I have to say we have not been disappointed. We believe that the plan is a sensible approach to a very complex subject and there is no one size fits all policy that I think is recognised in the plan. We are already adopting many of the principles of the plan and will be using it over the coming weeks and months to make sure that all our contracts are delivering as many aspects of the plan as possible.
There are several key points highlighted in the plan but the one that sticks out most is the engagement of the headteachers in each school. We have numerous examples of fully engaged head teachers who have school food plans of their own and see food as an integral part of the day. There is no doubt from our work in Durham with the free school meal pilot a few years ago that the ability of the children to learn in the classroom is improved by the provision of a nutritious meal at lunchtime. It would be nice to see the government pick up on the ‘free school meals for all’ point in the plan but suspect in these current times its about current cost and not future gain.
As you can probably guess my message to anyone who has not read the plan is to take it on holiday. It’s a useful guide to the areas that need attention within any school food business.

Welcome Gary Palmer - a School Food Plan Storyteller

As a director of Taylor Shaw I have responsibility along with my colleagues for the delivery of more than 60,000 meals every day in secondary and primary schools across the country. Our prime focus is fresh food prepared daily on each site using our own fully trained staff. Having gained many contracts over the last few years it never ceases to amaze me that staff talk about the pride that is returned to them in their roles when we take over a contract. One comment we often hear is its like going back 10 years because that’s the way we used to prepare food at our school.

We had great expectations for the School Food Plan and I have to say we have not been disappointed. We believe that the plan is a sensible approach to a very complex subject and there is no one size fits all policy that I think is recognised in the plan. We are already adopting many of the principles of the plan and will be using it over the coming weeks and months to make sure that all our contracts are delivering as many aspects of the plan as possible.

There are several key points highlighted in the plan but the one that sticks out most is the engagement of the headteachers in each school. We have numerous examples of fully engaged head teachers who have school food plans of their own and see food as an integral part of the day. There is no doubt from our work in Durham with the free school meal pilot a few years ago that the ability of the children to learn in the classroom is improved by the provision of a nutritious meal at lunchtime. It would be nice to see the government pick up on the ‘free school meals for all’ point in the plan but suspect in these current times its about current cost and not future gain.

As you can probably guess my message to anyone who has not read the plan is to take it on holiday. It’s a useful guide to the areas that need attention within any school food business.

My name is Jo Wotton and I am a mum of 5, my eldest is 20 and youngest 8. We live in a beautiful small village called St Tudy in North Cornwall. My youngest Tom attends the village school and in early May I had a conversation with the Head, Karen Holmes about the possibility of being able to come out of our catering contract. We had a new cook come in  January and for one reason or another our numbers had fallen to around 5 children a day out of 65! We knew that if we continued at these numbers we would probably lose our meal service and possibly our canteen as it is across the road from the school and we had already had to fight to keep our school open and the canteen is expensive to run.


I went home and thought about it, spoke to a couple of Twitter friends and went back the next day and offered to become the SNAG co-ordinator and I would start with the school meals. I knew we could only make big changes if we went for a “whole of school” approach to school food. I have since then scrapped the old menu, designed new menus for St Tudy and St Mabyn which is the sister school as we have recently become part of an academy (The Saint’s Way MAT- St Petroc’s, Lerryn, St Mabyn, St Tudy, and St Winnow schools) and have got new local suppliers etc. I have done lots of taste tests etc with the parents and children and I am busy “making over” the canteen and getting ready for September.
I have a background in hospitality and food styling but due to our eldest son’s lung problems (he uses oxygen daily) I have only done a bit of freelance the last few years, I have also been teaching cookery in the schools.


When I first read the plan I was thrilled to see that all pupils up to 14 would be getting cookery classes, it’s so important to give what I feel is a life skill.  Learning to cook starts pupils thinking about what they eat. I was also pleased to see a section on small schools as I feel we face added issues as it is hard to provide a meal service that can break even.


I feel we are embracing the idea of “whole of school” approach to school food. We have started to work towards FFL Partnership Bronze awards and I am thrilled to say that we are getting rid of the flight trays!


I think that the School Food Plan will continue to offer me access to other people who are doing this well. I am really just a parent who is passionate about school meals and children being able to access a meal at lunchtime. I have been following the plan since Henry and John were tasked with it last year. It has allowed me to discuss with others who work in the school meal sector how they do things, what can work, and what doesn’t work. @izword (Mark Webster) is a chef who works in a school in Manchester, he has been a constant source of support and inspiration, in lots of ways what I am doing has been supported by Twitter as there is always someone there to answer my questions.


I would really urge anyone who hasn’t read the plan to do so. It’s written with so much warmth and passion, it’s good common sense stuff. It starts with saying its the school’s head who needs to lead the fight to getting more children eating school meals and without Karen’s support to my mad idea we may have been on the road to losing our school meal service. I would read the plan and then urge your child’s head teacher to read it! We need to work together to make the changes we need.
My name is Jo Wotton and I am a mum of 5, my eldest is 20 and youngest 8. We live in a beautiful small village called St Tudy in North Cornwall. My youngest Tom attends the village school and in early May I had a conversation with the Head, Karen Holmes about the possibility of being able to come out of our catering contract. We had a new cook come in  January and for one reason or another our numbers had fallen to around 5 children a day out of 65! We knew that if we continued at these numbers we would probably lose our meal service and possibly our canteen as it is across the road from the school and we had already had to fight to keep our school open and the canteen is expensive to run.

I went home and thought about it, spoke to a couple of Twitter friends and went back the next day and offered to become the SNAG co-ordinator and I would start with the school meals. I knew we could only make big changes if we went for a “whole of school” approach to school food. I have since then scrapped the old menu, designed new menus for St Tudy and St Mabyn which is the sister school as we have recently become part of an academy (The Saint’s Way MAT- St Petroc’s, Lerryn, St Mabyn, St Tudy, and St Winnow schools) and have got new local suppliers etc. I have done lots of taste tests etc with the parents and children and I am busy “making over” the canteen and getting ready for September.
I have a background in hospitality and food styling but due to our eldest son’s lung problems (he uses oxygen daily) I have only done a bit of freelance the last few years, I have also been teaching cookery in the schools.

When I first read the plan I was thrilled to see that all pupils up to 14 would be getting cookery classes, it’s so important to give what I feel is a life skill.  Learning to cook starts pupils thinking about what they eat. I was also pleased to see a section on small schools as I feel we face added issues as it is hard to provide a meal service that can break even.

I feel we are embracing the idea of “whole of school” approach to school food. We have started to work towards FFL Partnership Bronze awards and I am thrilled to say that we are getting rid of the flight trays!

I think that the School Food Plan will continue to offer me access to other people who are doing this well. I am really just a parent who is passionate about school meals and children being able to access a meal at lunchtime. I have been following the plan since Henry and John were tasked with it last year. It has allowed me to discuss with others who work in the school meal sector how they do things, what can work, and what doesn’t work. @izword (Mark Webster) is a chef who works in a school in Manchester, he has been a constant source of support and inspiration, in lots of ways what I am doing has been supported by Twitter as there is always someone there to answer my questions.

I would really urge anyone who hasn’t read the plan to do so. It’s written with so much warmth and passion, it’s good common sense stuff. It starts with saying its the school’s head who needs to lead the fight to getting more children eating school meals and without Karen’s support to my mad idea we may have been on the road to losing our school meal service. I would read the plan and then urge your child’s head teacher to read it! We need to work together to make the changes we need.
High-res Brad Pearce shares his first blog post as a School Food Plan Storyteller

If everybody’s ready then I’ll begin…..

Tell us a little about yourself and your role at work:

Plymouth born and bred but what a place to live!

I’m the Education Catering Manager for Plymouth City Council and I’ve been in the job for a little over 7 years so was lucky enough to have been given the role at the outset of the school food revolution.  I do mean genuinely lucky because it’s been such a great time to have had the opportunity to effect such enormous change including ending transported school lunches, building 20 brand new kitchens where schools previously had no facilities, increasing the number of meals served by almost a third over the last 4/5 years and becoming the first local authority caterer in the country to achieve the Gold Food for Life Catering Mark.

My team provides 1.5m meals a year in 62 primary and 5 special schools as well as three primary and two secondary academies.  We’ve also just started to run the City’s Community Meals Service delivering freshly prepared and cooked nutritious and delicious lunches to customers.

I’m passionate about what we do and passionate about what more we can do to make a bigger and more visible and sustainable change.

Best thing about the job?  Having lunch with a group of seven year olds – who will definitely tell you what they think of the lunch you’ve just served up!

What did you think when you read the plan?

I was at the LACA conference and was looking forward to seeing Henry or John tell us more about the Plan when they came along later that morning. Then I started to receive emails and information.

What came across first was the amount of work that had obviously been put into it and how the style made it very easy to read – yes lots of facts and figures but a clear understanding and passion about the work that had been completed.  I’d spoken with Henry several times during the year and met up with him and John to talk through some specific issues so I know how much effort they were putting into the review and I’m proud to have been asked to be involved.

How are you using the plan at the moment?

Term has just ended so I’m taking the opportunity of the quiet(er) period to work through the Plan and try to set out a programme of activities and events / road shows to present the Plan to as wide an audience as possible in the autumn term.  I’m writing a piece for our Governors Newsletter too and have set up meetings with Public Health and our Food: Plymouth group to look at ways of embedding the Plan into many of our day to day activities.

What do you think will make the biggest difference to your catering operation/school and why?

School Funding Reform has caused a few sleepless nights thinking about how we can keep services going, not undo everything we achieved so far but also develop the service into a new sustainable model.  A plus side to the reform has been the opening of the door to schools, heads and governors who now want to know more about the service and how we can work together.

What the Plan will do is help focus those ideas and groups and provide a strong platform to build the future for children and young people across the city – not just for lunch but through cooking and food education provide a foundation and set of skills for life.

But this is only the beginning…..

What message would you give to others who still haven’t read the plan yet?

Why not?  It’s a cracking read! 

Or to put it another way, as one of my team said today:

“Whether you’re a mother or whether you’re a brother you could be helping the next generation to stay alive!”

Fussy about food?  We are………..
Brad

Brad Pearce shares his first blog post as a School Food Plan Storyteller

If everybody’s ready then I’ll begin…..

Tell us a little about yourself and your role at work:

Plymouth born and bred but what a place to live!

I’m the Education Catering Manager for Plymouth City Council and I’ve been in the job for a little over 7 years so was lucky enough to have been given the role at the outset of the school food revolution.  I do mean genuinely lucky because it’s been such a great time to have had the opportunity to effect such enormous change including ending transported school lunches, building 20 brand new kitchens where schools previously had no facilities, increasing the number of meals served by almost a third over the last 4/5 years and becoming the first local authority caterer in the country to achieve the Gold Food for Life Catering Mark.

My team provides 1.5m meals a year in 62 primary and 5 special schools as well as three primary and two secondary academies.  We’ve also just started to run the City’s Community Meals Service delivering freshly prepared and cooked nutritious and delicious lunches to customers.

I’m passionate about what we do and passionate about what more we can do to make a bigger and more visible and sustainable change.

Best thing about the job?  Having lunch with a group of seven year olds – who will definitely tell you what they think of the lunch you’ve just served up!

What did you think when you read the plan?

I was at the LACA conference and was looking forward to seeing Henry or John tell us more about the Plan when they came along later that morning. Then I started to receive emails and information.

What came across first was the amount of work that had obviously been put into it and how the style made it very easy to read – yes lots of facts and figures but a clear understanding and passion about the work that had been completed.  I’d spoken with Henry several times during the year and met up with him and John to talk through some specific issues so I know how much effort they were putting into the review and I’m proud to have been asked to be involved.

How are you using the plan at the moment?

Term has just ended so I’m taking the opportunity of the quiet(er) period to work through the Plan and try to set out a programme of activities and events / road shows to present the Plan to as wide an audience as possible in the autumn term.  I’m writing a piece for our Governors Newsletter too and have set up meetings with Public Health and our Food: Plymouth group to look at ways of embedding the Plan into many of our day to day activities.

What do you think will make the biggest difference to your catering operation/school and why?

School Funding Reform has caused a few sleepless nights thinking about how we can keep services going, not undo everything we achieved so far but also develop the service into a new sustainable model.  A plus side to the reform has been the opening of the door to schools, heads and governors who now want to know more about the service and how we can work together.

What the Plan will do is help focus those ideas and groups and provide a strong platform to build the future for children and young people across the city – not just for lunch but through cooking and food education provide a foundation and set of skills for life.

But this is only the beginning…..

What message would you give to others who still haven’t read the plan yet?

Why not?  It’s a cracking read! 

Or to put it another way, as one of my team said today:

“Whether you’re a mother or whether you’re a brother you could be helping the next generation to stay alive!”

Fussy about food?  We are………..

Brad

High-res The Start Of Our Story In Nottingham City - Jacquie Blake

When I received an email from the School Food Plan social media team asking me to be a storyteller I was delighted to be involved.
Just a week after the launch of the plan on Friday 12th July we have already been busy making plans to implement it and we hope you enjoy following our journey. 
I am operations manager for catering and facilities at Nottingham City Council and have responsibility for school meals and meals at home.  We provide meals for 80 Primary Schools and four Secondary Schools.  The team here all work very hard together and we’ve retained the majority of schools, even though many have become Academies, over the last year.
It’s a great job here in Nottingham as every day is different and often with many challenges to overcome.  This keeps it very interesting.  But the reason I love what I do is we are providing healthy, tasty and quality food to young people which will help them learn.  It’s an important part of their school day which makes it very rewarding. 
What did I think of the plan?
We’ve all been anticipating the plan for the last few months and many rumours have circulated about what would be in it.  I was really pleased when I read the plan in detail that Friday morning.  It recognised that headteachers are at the heart of a successful school meals story and that’s something we firmly believe here.  We have many success stories where headteachers have supported us to drive school meals numbers up.  
Something else that stood out in the plan was that John Vincent and Henry Dimblemby recognised the importance of good quality food.  Again, something we’ve always made a big focus in Nottingham. 
Whilst there was much debate as the TV headlines hit about a ‘ban on packed lunches’, we’ve been arguing for some time that a school meal is the most healthy option for young people.  I’ve already heard of some schools in the country banning school lunches from September and will be following their progress. 
It was also great to see talk of free school meals for all.  Whilst I realise this isn’t agreed at this stage and would be a long term goal, the fact it’s being discussed is great for young people and their health.
What we’re doing so far
In the last few weeks we have written a marketing plan which addresses many of the areas in the School Food Plan.  Here are some of the things we have included:-
Identifying 14 schools which need additional support to increase meal numbers.
Providing suggestions for those schools on how they can increase meal numbers.
Looking at working with a local chef to help promote cooking in schools.
Exploring the possibility of reducing the cost in one school to trial the impact on uptake.
Creating a strong brand for school meals in Nottingham City.
Asking the 14 headteachers to use the checklist within the School Food Plan.
Seeking inspiration from the Head of Greenfield School who was identified in the government’s plan.
Helping create a pack of work achieved to show an Ofsted inspector.
I think the action which will have the biggest impact on our catering service is getting the support of headteachers.  When we’ve done this in the past it’s had a big increase in uptake and we are confident this will continue. 
If you haven’t already read the plan I suggest you do as soon as possible.  My team were all very excited after reading it and are looking forward to developing our service for young people.

The Start Of Our Story In Nottingham City - Jacquie Blake

When I received an email from the School Food Plan social media team asking me to be a storyteller I was delighted to be involved.

Just a week after the launch of the plan on Friday 12th July we have already been busy making plans to implement it and we hope you enjoy following our journey.

I am operations manager for catering and facilities at Nottingham City Council and have responsibility for school meals and meals at home.  We provide meals for 80 Primary Schools and four Secondary Schools.  The team here all work very hard together and we’ve retained the majority of schools, even though many have become Academies, over the last year.

It’s a great job here in Nottingham as every day is different and often with many challenges to overcome.  This keeps it very interesting.  But the reason I love what I do is we are providing healthy, tasty and quality food to young people which will help them learn.  It’s an important part of their school day which makes it very rewarding.

What did I think of the plan?

We’ve all been anticipating the plan for the last few months and many rumours have circulated about what would be in it.  I was really pleased when I read the plan in detail that Friday morning.  It recognised that headteachers are at the heart of a successful school meals story and that’s something we firmly believe here.  We have many success stories where headteachers have supported us to drive school meals numbers up

Something else that stood out in the plan was that John Vincent and Henry Dimblemby recognised the importance of good quality food.  Again, something we’ve always made a big focus in Nottingham.

Whilst there was much debate as the TV headlines hit about a ‘ban on packed lunches’, we’ve been arguing for some time that a school meal is the most healthy option for young people.  I’ve already heard of some schools in the country banning school lunches from September and will be following their progress.

It was also great to see talk of free school meals for all.  Whilst I realise this isn’t agreed at this stage and would be a long term goal, the fact it’s being discussed is great for young people and their health.

What we’re doing so far

In the last few weeks we have written a marketing plan which addresses many of the areas in the School Food Plan.  Here are some of the things we have included:-

  • Identifying 14 schools which need additional support to increase meal numbers.
  • Providing suggestions for those schools on how they can increase meal numbers.
  • Looking at working with a local chef to help promote cooking in schools.
  • Exploring the possibility of reducing the cost in one school to trial the impact on uptake.
  • Creating a strong brand for school meals in Nottingham City.
  • Asking the 14 headteachers to use the checklist within the School Food Plan.
  • Seeking inspiration from the Head of Greenfield School who was identified in the government’s plan.
  • Helping create a pack of work achieved to show an Ofsted inspector.

I think the action which will have the biggest impact on our catering service is getting the support of headteachers.  When we’ve done this in the past it’s had a big increase in uptake and we are confident this will continue.

If you haven’t already read the plan I suggest you do as soon as possible.  My team were all very excited after reading it and are looking forward to developing our service for young people.

High-res School Food Plan Storytellers
We have already seen how passionate our new Twitter community is for improving the academic performance of our children and the health of our nation. That is why we want you to share the story of implementing the plan.
Tonight we are announcing our first four School Food Plan Storytellers. They will provide monthly blogs telling the story and successes of implementing the plan.
Our storytellers are
Brad Pearce
Plymouth City Council


Jacquie BlakeNottingham City Council


Gary PalmerTaylor Shaw


Jo WottonRepresenting a primary school in Cornwall


We will share their first blog posts over the coming weeks.Would you like to be a School Food Plan Storyteller?
If so, please email info@SchoolFoodPlan.com explaining in 100 words why you would make a good storyteller.

School Food Plan Storytellers

We have already seen how passionate our new Twitter community is for improving the academic performance of our children and the health of our nation. That is why we want you to share the story of implementing the plan.

Tonight we are announcing our first four School Food Plan Storytellers. They will provide monthly blogs telling the story and successes of implementing the plan.

Our storytellers are

Brad Pearce
Plymouth City Council
Jacquie Blake
Nottingham City Council
Gary Palmer
Taylor Shaw
Jo Wotton
Representing a primary school in Cornwall
We will share their first blog posts over the coming weeks.

Would you like to be a School Food Plan Storyteller?
If so, please email info@SchoolFoodPlan.com explaining in 100 words why you would make a good storyteller.
High-res #SchoolFoodChat
Some of you will have seen us talking about the possibility of a school food chat on Twitter. We are delighted to announce that a trial of this will be going ahead and will take place most Wednesday evenings starting from Wednesday 31st July at 8pm. You will be able to join these chats by simply adding the hashtag #SchoolFoodChat to all your tweets. 
The idea is to discuss and share ideas around particular topics within school food to help each other in the implementation of the plan. Some of the ideas from the chats will be added to what works well and others may be used in our blogs. Before each chat we will ask our Twitter followers to put forward topics and from there we will select one topic each week. 
We are looking for different people and organisations to host each school food chat. To host the chat you need to:-
Be online at the relevant time that week.
Post questions related to the topics.
Encourage others to interact and share discussion.
Help promote the weekly chat on Twitter.
At the end of each Twitter chat we will create a summary for you based on key discussion points in the chat.
If you would like to host a chat please let @schfoodplan know. Make sure you put 8pm on Wednesday 31stst July in your diary.

#SchoolFoodChat

Some of you will have seen us talking about the possibility of a school food chat on Twitter. We are delighted to announce that a trial of this will be going ahead and will take place most Wednesday evenings starting from Wednesday 31st July at 8pm. You will be able to join these chats by simply adding the hashtag #SchoolFoodChat to all your tweets.

The idea is to discuss and share ideas around particular topics within school food to help each other in the implementation of the plan. Some of the ideas from the chats will be added to what works well and others may be used in our blogs. Before each chat we will ask our Twitter followers to put forward topics and from there we will select one topic each week.

We are looking for different people and organisations to host each school food chat. To host the chat you need to:-

  • Be online at the relevant time that week.
  • Post questions related to the topics.
  • Encourage others to interact and share discussion.
  • Help promote the weekly chat on Twitter.

At the end of each Twitter chat we will create a summary for you based on key discussion points in the chat.

If you would like to host a chat please let @schfoodplan know. Make sure you put 8pm on Wednesday 31stst July in your diary.

High-res Six minutes with Myles Bremner
Over the coming months the School Food Plan social media team will be looking for questions to put to the man who will be leading the implementation of the School Food Plan. 
To get it started the team spent six minutes interviewing Myles and here’s what he had to say.
Why did you say yes when John and Henry asked you to take on this role?I actually believe it’s the most exciting job in the world. The health of the children in this country is something I am extremely passionate about and I truly believe that the School Food Plan is a means to end. It is such an important project and I’ve already been inspired by the positivity within the industry.
What do you think has been the biggest achievement to date?The way everyone has got behind the plan and is ready to start making changes. All the stakeholders are engaged right through the supply chain.  It’s a great feeling. Also the fact, that it is an actual plan with agreed actions. Basically we launched the plan on the Friday and work to implement it began on the Monday. In fact my work actually started the same day!
If you could give one piece of advice to schools what would it be?That the Headteacher needs to lead the charge. A whole school approach is key but that has to be driven from the top with everyone then working together.
We know lots of school cooks have been reading the school food plan – have you got a message for them?Yes, you are the heroes of the industry. Plain and simple!
We know you’ve visited lots of schools over the last year, what’s your favourite school meal?It’s a difficult one as I’ve tasted some really great dishes but I would have to say a Roast Dinner. I know this is very popular with pupils and parents too.
What has been your most memorable moment so far on the School Food Plan?Two things really spring to mind. The first is simply how inspired I’ve felt visiting schools over the last year. So many schools have a brilliant food culture with healthy and happy children. That makes me more determined to ensure that all children get that experience. Another was an early stakeholder event I attended where we all sat discussing stories of success. When I left the room that day I knew something amazing was going to happen. 

Six minutes with Myles Bremner

Over the coming months the School Food Plan social media team will be looking for questions to put to the man who will be leading the implementation of the School Food Plan.

To get it started the team spent six minutes interviewing Myles and here’s what he had to say.

Why did you say yes when John and Henry asked you to take on this role?
I actually believe it’s the most exciting job in the world. The health of the children in this country is something I am extremely passionate about and I truly believe that the School Food Plan is a means to end. It is such an important project and I’ve already been inspired by the positivity within the industry.

What do you think has been the biggest achievement to date?
The way everyone has got behind the plan and is ready to start making changes. All the stakeholders are engaged right through the supply chain.  It’s a great feeling. Also the fact, that it is an actual plan with agreed actions. Basically we launched the plan on the Friday and work to implement it began on the Monday. In fact my work actually started the same day!

If you could give one piece of advice to schools what would it be?
That the Headteacher needs to lead the charge. A whole school approach is key but that has to be driven from the top with everyone then working together.

We know lots of school cooks have been reading the school food plan – have you got a message for them?
Yes, you are the heroes of the industry. Plain and simple!

We know you’ve visited lots of schools over the last year, what’s your favourite school meal?
It’s a difficult one as I’ve tasted some really great dishes but I would have to say a Roast Dinner. I know this is very popular with pupils and parents too.

What has been your most memorable moment so far on the School Food Plan?
Two things really spring to mind. The first is simply how inspired I’ve felt visiting schools over the last year. So many schools have a brilliant food culture with healthy and happy children. That makes me more determined to ensure that all children get that experience. Another was an early stakeholder event I attended where we all sat discussing stories of success. When I left the room that day I knew something amazing was going to happen. 

Healthy Eating Week at Horbury Bridge Academy

Guest blog by Sarah Jolly, Horbury Bridge CE Junior and Infant Academy

image

Many schools now have a health week but at Horbury Bridge Academy we like to think ours is worth talking about with a wide range of activities promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Amongst the favourite things during health week are the cooking activities. The year 1’s and 2’s had an opportunity to practise their cutting skills by making a fruity chicken salad which included school grown lettuce. Every child went home with a portion of the salad along with the recipe to spread the message of healthy eating into their homes.

Another cooking activity that was linked to a literacy task was making fruit kebabs. The children had a chance to cut and skewer fruit before discussing the language of instructions, coming up with a range of time conectives and bossy verbs that would be used in a recipe.

Cooking provides so many opportunities for learning - listening to follow instructions, using appropriate tools for the task, literacy and numeracy opportunities. Perhaps one of the quotes of the year was from a year 1 boy who said “we’ve been pretending to do numeracy but we made pizza”. Within that lesson we had measured, doubled, halved and discussed shapes.

Two year 6 girls joined the school cook to help prepare the school dinners giving them the opportunity to show the skils they have developed through their time at the school.

During health week we also had our end of year open evening and as we recognise the teaching opportunities of cooking we had a food activity for all. The recipe we used this year was a fruity yoghurt cup - toddlers, school children and adults all love the activity.  

This year we had three competitive sports days -  Reception and Key stage 1, Nursery and then Key stage 2. At each of these the adults watching were treated to a non alcoholic fruit cocktail which had been prepared by some of our children. After an exhausting Key Stage 2 sports day children in year 3 and 4 were asked, in a Big Writing session, to evaluate the sports day. They had to come up with reasons why we should hold these events - this really got them thinking about the reasons for excercise.

Other activities included den building in the local park for the younger ones, a walk into the woods for older children, swimming, an inflatable assault course and a horizontal climbing wall. The years 5’s and 6’s also took part in an interschool rounders competition.

High-res What can you be doing now as part of the school food plan?
There have been many questions asked over the last week but the above has been one of the most commonly asked.  
Schools, parents and caterers want to know exactly what they should be doing now the plan has been announced.  It’s great to see so many people ready and raring to go which is why I thought it would be best if I share five things that schools, parents and caterers can do straightaway.
Schools
Make sure all teachers, school governors and school caterers have read the plan.  We have 16 actions signed off by Government so you need to ensure that everyone has read it and understands what is expected of them. 
Go through the Headteacher checklist with your senior leadership team and have a brainstorm around what you can be doing and when.
Create a school food action plan for the autumn term using the Headteacher checklist as a starting point.  Make sure all parents have a copy of the menu or know where to get one if you promote it online.
Let us know where you need support and what currently works well for you so we can include it on our website.  You can do this through our contact form on www.schoolfoodplan.com or via @schfoodplan on Twitter. 
Connect with others on Twitter and Facebook to share ideas.  You can also join in the #schoolfoodchat discussions which will be launched very soon.
 
Parents
One of the best ways to find out what the food is like in your school is to talk to your child.  If they currently have a school meal what do they think of them and are there any ways they can be improved. 
Contact your child’s school and find out how what they are doing to implement the school food actions.
Don’t just listen to the headlines. Make sure you read the plan yourself and let us know via the website if you have any concerns, questions or would like to share something your child’s schools has done well.
Connect with other parents on our Facebook page which will go live very soon.
If your child currently has a packed lunch, why not look at the menu for next term with your child. It may be they could try a school meal on a day when one of their favourite dishes is being served.  Speak to your child’s school if you would like to try a school meal as well.  School meals have changed a great deal over the last few years.
Caterers
Read the plan and share it with all your catering team.  You may like to use this video in your cooks training this summer http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/film/.
Identify which schools in your area need the most urgent support to increase meal numbers.  These should be your main focus for the next school term.
Send any questions related to the plan and tell us what works well for you via the website contact form or via Twitter @schfoodplan.
Check your eligibility for additional funding or to become a flagship borough.  
Make appointments with your headteachers’ to discuss how you can support them in increasing take up.
One thing I would say to all of you is there are many groups and partnerships and charities who are passionate about this industry and who work to support great food culture in schools.  Make contact with them and see how they can help you.  You can find out more at www.schoolfoodplan.com. 

What can you be doing now as part of the school food plan?

There have been many questions asked over the last week but the above has been one of the most commonly asked. 

Schools, parents and caterers want to know exactly what they should be doing now the plan has been announced.  It’s great to see so many people ready and raring to go which is why I thought it would be best if I share five things that schools, parents and caterers can do straightaway.

Schools

  1. Make sure all teachers, school governors and school caterers have read the plan.  We have 16 actions signed off by Government so you need to ensure that everyone has read it and understands what is expected of them. 
  2. Go through the Headteacher checklist with your senior leadership team and have a brainstorm around what you can be doing and when.
  3. Create a school food action plan for the autumn term using the Headteacher checklist as a starting point.  Make sure all parents have a copy of the menu or know where to get one if you promote it online.
  4. Let us know where you need support and what currently works well for you so we can include it on our website.  You can do this through our contact form on www.schoolfoodplan.com or via @schfoodplan on Twitter
  5. Connect with others on Twitter and Facebook to share ideas.  You can also join in the #schoolfoodchat discussions which will be launched very soon.

 

Parents

  1. One of the best ways to find out what the food is like in your school is to talk to your child.  If they currently have a school meal what do they think of them and are there any ways they can be improved. 
  2. Contact your child’s school and find out how what they are doing to implement the school food actions.
  3. Don’t just listen to the headlines. Make sure you read the plan yourself and let us know via the website if you have any concerns, questions or would like to share something your child’s schools has done well.
  4. Connect with other parents on our Facebook page which will go live very soon.
  5. If your child currently has a packed lunch, why not look at the menu for next term with your child. It may be they could try a school meal on a day when one of their favourite dishes is being served.  Speak to your child’s school if you would like to try a school meal as well.  School meals have changed a great deal over the last few years.

Caterers

  1. Read the plan and share it with all your catering team.  You may like to use this video in your cooks training this summer http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/film/.
  2. Identify which schools in your area need the most urgent support to increase meal numbers.  These should be your main focus for the next school term.
  3. Send any questions related to the plan and tell us what works well for you via the website contact form or via Twitter @schfoodplan.
  4. Check your eligibility for additional funding or to become a flagship borough.  
  5. Make appointments with your headteachers’ to discuss how you can support them in increasing take up.

One thing I would say to all of you is there are many groups and partnerships and charities who are passionate about this industry and who work to support great food culture in schools.  Make contact with them and see how they can help you.  You can find out more at www.schoolfoodplan.com

High-res My reaction to the School Food Plan, by Carmel McConnell founder of Magic Breakfast and expert panel member. @MagicCarmel

 
The Summary. 

It’s great, John and Henry have done a cracking job. I haven’t stopped smiling, honestly, because I believe we now can sort out school food systematically, improving the lives of thousands of children by offering them a better school breakfast and lunch. 

 
But a bit more. From Tuesday 16th July, the day of the All Party Parliamentary Group on School Food at Westminster. 


The All Party Parliamentary Group on July 16th was already pretty warm, with Westminster baking out a gentle 30 degrees outside. But (and this is a cheese warning, this blog is full of good feeling and some cliche!) it got even warmer as John and Henry talked through the School Food Plan.  Warmer with relief and happiness that the review had been so clearly from the heart, so thorough, so child centred, so action oriented. Warmer still as many experienced school food experts expressed the view that the Plan is a game changer, a big step on in the evolution of good school food. And, as much as any of that, warmer because we couldn’t work out how to open the 100 year old windows. 
 
So, the Plan. Well, first of all John and Henry deserve a nice big thank you from all of us, I think. They’ve (with their indomitable DfE team led by Matthew Purves) united a disparate body of school food expertise, because they are passionate, clever and clearly slightly mad. Nietzche I think said if there is a big enough why, we can get through any amount of how. They’ve worked on the basis that getting better school food into the nation’s children is the foundation for their future success. Letting children eat the wrong food creates unhappy, unwell, underachieving children, and creates a pipeline of underachievement and illness. So there’s a pretty big why. But it takes something special to create such a strong groundswell of support for the Plan. It’s so much more than improved lunch take up - read it and you’ll be amazed at the whole range of great stuff. Getting Government backing for the main actions is a huge achievement, and the Secretary of State also deserves our thanks, in my view, for making school food improvement a funding priority during a time of austerity. So thank you. 
 
What’s my role? Well I’ve been a member of the expert panel, done my fair share of head scratching, working through the vast amount of information that John and Henry welcomed into the review, from right across the education spectrum. All of us on the expert panel will stay on to help with the implementation, bringing our experience and individual areas of expertise. My area of expertise is that I’m an optimistic sort of activist, keen to offer a good breakfast to children who arrive at school too hungry to learn. , I’m the Founder of (www.magicbreakfast.com), which provides a healthy breakfast to 7,500 children each school day, in 230 schools. We build food skills and confidence, stressing the role of parents as well as helping the school reap the many rewards of good breakfast and lunch. It’s really simple. Good food drives child attainment, happiness and wellbeing. And you may have seen this phrase a few times now - a hungry child cannot concentrate.
 
And now the Plan is launched, what is my reaction? Well, delighted. It is an important and radical set of actions, which I believe will upgrade the food experience of a whole generation of school children. Actually I haven’t stopped smiling. Not only because breakfast is in there, but really because Henry and John have created a cracking plan of action to tackle so many under resourced areas of school food. Now, I hope we can unleash the positive energy created by the plan into a million different school food improvements. As I’ve pointed out over the years, posters won’t feed children, people will.  You, possibly. I believe everyone can make a big difference to the success of this plan. Why not you? 
 
Let us know how you are getting on and sending love, Carmel 
My reaction to the School Food Plan, by Carmel McConnell founder of Magic Breakfast and expert panel member. @MagicCarmel
 
The Summary. 
It’s great, John and Henry have done a cracking job. I haven’t stopped smiling, honestly, because I believe we now can sort out school food systematically, improving the lives of thousands of children by offering them a better school breakfast and lunch. 
 
But a bit more. From Tuesday 16th July, the day of the All Party Parliamentary Group on School Food at Westminster. 
The All Party Parliamentary Group on July 16th was already pretty warm, with Westminster baking out a gentle 30 degrees outside. But (and this is a cheese warning, this blog is full of good feeling and some cliche!) it got even warmer as John and Henry talked through the School Food Plan.  Warmer with relief and happiness that the review had been so clearly from the heart, so thorough, so child centred, so action oriented. Warmer still as many experienced school food experts expressed the view that the Plan is a game changer, a big step on in the evolution of good school food. And, as much as any of that, warmer because we couldn’t work out how to open the 100 year old windows. 
 
So, the Plan. Well, first of all John and Henry deserve a nice big thank you from all of us, I think. They’ve (with their indomitable DfE team led by Matthew Purves) united a disparate body of school food expertise, because they are passionate, clever and clearly slightly mad. Nietzche I think said if there is a big enough why, we can get through any amount of how. They’ve worked on the basis that getting better school food into the nation’s children is the foundation for their future success. Letting children eat the wrong food creates unhappy, unwell, underachieving children, and creates a pipeline of underachievement and illness. So there’s a pretty big why. But it takes something special to create such a strong groundswell of support for the Plan. It’s so much more than improved lunch take up - read it and you’ll be amazed at the whole range of great stuff. Getting Government backing for the main actions is a huge achievement, and the Secretary of State also deserves our thanks, in my view, for making school food improvement a funding priority during a time of austerity. So thank you. 
 
What’s my role? Well I’ve been a member of the expert panel, done my fair share of head scratching, working through the vast amount of information that John and Henry welcomed into the review, from right across the education spectrum. All of us on the expert panel will stay on to help with the implementation, bringing our experience and individual areas of expertise. My area of expertise is that I’m an optimistic sort of activist, keen to offer a good breakfast to children who arrive at school too hungry to learn. , I’m the Founder of (www.magicbreakfast.com), which provides a healthy breakfast to 7,500 children each school day, in 230 schools. We build food skills and confidence, stressing the role of parents as well as helping the school reap the many rewards of good breakfast and lunch. It’s really simple. Good food drives child attainment, happiness and wellbeing. And you may have seen this phrase a few times now - a hungry child cannot concentrate.
 
And now the Plan is launched, what is my reaction? Well, delighted. It is an important and radical set of actions, which I believe will upgrade the food experience of a whole generation of school children. Actually I haven’t stopped smiling. Not only because breakfast is in there, but really because Henry and John have created a cracking plan of action to tackle so many under resourced areas of school food. Now, I hope we can unleash the positive energy created by the plan into a million different school food improvements. As I’ve pointed out over the years, posters won’t feed children, people will.  You, possibly. I believe everyone can make a big difference to the success of this plan. Why not you? 
 
Let us know how you are getting on and sending love, Carmel