From September 2014, all infant pupils can take advantage of a free school lunch. In order to help schools prepare for the challenge of delivering this efficiently, Schools Minister David Laws has launched a support service, which includes a national helpline, and an online support toolkit, The School Food Plan.
This aims to inspire teachers and health professionals to deliver nutritious food, while educating children about its importance, so more of them will choose school meals instead of packed lunches. As well links to expert organisations and inspirational ideas and resources to help schools implement a healthy school food culture, there is also a checklist of what schools need to do to improve uptake of school meals.
This includes banning packed lunches, making the dining hall a welcoming place, abolishing ’prison-style’ trays, and keeping queues down - all these changes can help encourage more children to try them. There is also an explanation on why children need to be introduced to a good food culture as soon as possible and why free school meals should be rolled out to all primary school children, starting with the most deprived areas.
For the full range of actions underway and for detailed support for schools, download the plan at www.schoolfoodplan.com/toolkit