23rd October 2020
Free School Meals
As a school we are very proud of the hot school meals that we provide every day for our children. We fully abide by the Government school food standards which are there to ensure that food provided to pupils promotes good nutritional health. The standards were introduced to encourage children to develop healthy eating habits within the school day.
“The government encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools. We also expect all academies and free schools to comply with the standards, and since 2014 we have made this an explicit requirement in their funding agreements. These school food standards are to ensure that food provided to pupils in school is nutritious and of high quality; to promote good nutritional health in all pupils; protect those who are nutritionally vulnerable and to promote good eating behaviour.” (DfE School food in England)
The standards include:
· One or more portions of vegetables or salad as an accompaniment every day
· At least three different fruits, and three different vegetables each week
· An emphasis on wholegrain foods in place of refined carbohydrates
· An emphasis on making water the drink of choice
· Limiting fruit juice portions to 150ml
· Restricting the amount of added sugars or honey in other drinks to five percent
· No more than two portions a week of food that has been deep-fried, batter-coated or breadcrumb-coated.
· No more than two portions of food which include pastry each week.
The lockdown had quite a large impact on children’s mental health and their diet. A British Medical Journal report uncovered some stark realisations:
· Mental health problems worsened during lockdown with the lack of a balanced diet taking a mental as well as a physical toll.
· Nutritional deficiencies or feeling hungry affected children’s educational performance which were already hampered by the closure of schools during lockdown.
· A recent survey of 1000 social services, voluntary sector, and other professionals who were in regular contact with children and families during lockdown found that the majority (84%) of participants had seen a rise in mental health issues associated with food insecurity during the pandemic.
The British Medical Journal also reported on how children’s diets changed during lockdown:
• More freshly cooked food produced in the home during lockdown increased by 39%
• Sales of pastries, biscuits, cakes, confectionery increased by 40%
• Disadvantaged children consumed more snacks – 63%
• Junk food consumption increased by 34%
• Fruit and vegetable consumption reduced by– 33%
This report shows how important it is for children to receive a hot meal every day. Research by the Children's Food Trust shows that school meals are now consistently more nutritious than packed lunches, giving the children who eat them a better foundation for good health. Only one per cent of packed lunches meet the nutritional standards that currently apply to school food. Not only does a hot meal increase your child's nutritional intake it also stimulates learning in the classroom and helps with their mental health.
All children in reception, year one and year two automatically receive free school meals. Other children in years 3 – 6 may also qualify for free school meals. Please click here for more information if you believe your child may be eligible.
We have a fantastic team in the kitchen that ensure children are served a hot nutritious meal daily. Parents can rest assured that their child is getting the food that they need. Click here to see examples of the hot food our children are served daily.
Please click on the following links for further information and please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at school if you need any help or advice. We are here to help.