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.