Training and Support
The Food in Schools programme offers a wealth of training and support to enrich food education and culture within schools. All of the training and support is offered free of charge, and we are always happy to help. Food in Schools is not just about cooking food; it encompasses the whole lunchtime experience, catering staff, growing food that can then be used as part of cookery lessons and using food as a way of engaging the whole family unit.
To really boost your work towards food education, parental engagement and whole school approach to food, find out more about our Food in Schools award.This is a great way of demonstrating to Ofsted that you are fulfilling their inspection requirements for health and wellbeing.
Food in Schools support is not only about offering regular training sessions on a range of topics; it is also about being a point of contact via email or phone (01209 313419) if you have any questions or requirements in relation to food. For some schools it is simply knowing that there is somewhere you can go to find out more information.
Policies and Guidance
There is a range of national guidance around food in school from a range of partners and services. With Ofsted now including health and wellbeing within the inspection framework, including dining hall culture and behaviour to promote healthy choices, you might find some of the following information useful.
Childhood Obesity Strategy
Published in August 2016, Childhood Obesity: A Plan for Action lays out plans to reduce England’s rate of obesity in children, as well as encouraging the industry to cut down the amount of sugar in food and drinks. It also outlines plans to encourage primary school particularly to eat more healthily and become more physically active.
School Food Plan
The School Food Plan was published by the Department for Education in July 2013, giving guidance on best practice for all aspects of food within the school environment. It’s an agreed plan from a range of partners that makes 17 recommendations to help head teachers deliver the best quality food in school, in addition to how children learn about food.
From the School Food Plan, we now have Universal Infant Free School Meals, for all Reception, Year One and Year Two children, as well as compulsory cooking in the national curriculum. There is also the School Food Standards which came into force from January 2015 for all local authority maintained schools and academies who converted outside of the window of September 2010-June 2014. For those schools who converted to academy status within this period can pledge their commitment to the standards via the School food Plan website. The standards transformed the quality and provision of school meals. More information can be found here.
Whole School Food Policy
Developing a policy on food can be a really great way of structuring your school’s approach to food, as well as evidencing your commitment to it. You might like to include a focus on breakfast clubs, snack and packed lunches, as well as your school meal provision and after school club foods (or a combination of these areas). The School Food Standards outline that any food provided for children on school premises before 6pm – whether it is free or charged for – must fall in line with the standards in those schools to which they apply. Foods outside of the standards are allowed to be offered or sold only for special occasions – such as fayres, Christmas, Easter or other celebrations in school.
A policy can help staff, children and parents understand the school’s approach to food and what is expected from everyone. As a school, your staff and governors might agree suggested snacks, drinks or packed lunch items which can then be shared with parents and children to help you encourage healthy choices.
If you would like to find out more about compiling a school food policy and see example policies/support documents, please get in touch with your School Support Worker.
Food in Schools Training
Lunchtime Supervisors' Training
Good Lunchtime Supervisors are hard to come by, and often they are already working in school in Teaching Assistant roles. We think that lunchtime is a really important part of the school day, so it is especially important that staff have an awareness of the School Food Standards, Ofsted requirements, healthy eating and how the children look up to them for role modelling with food.
Healthy Lunchbox Workshop
Some schools find that they would like to improve the contents of packed lunches that are brought into school by their children. This course gives staff the opportunity to explore the possibilities of running a workshop with parents and children to promote healthy choices in lunch boxes. This session links in with lots of theory about diet and lifestyle, as well as allowing staff to get hands-on with the food and have a go at doing a workshop themselves.
You can find our full training offer via our Training Page; everything is free!
Useful Teaching Resources
There are a wealth of resources available on the Change 4 Life School Zone, including assemblies, presentations, teaching resources, resources for parents and leaflets.
The BHF are an excellent source of information and leaflets around food and healthy lifestyles. Recipe cards are available, as well as information booklets that may be appropriate for older children and parents.
In 2007, the British Nutrition Foundation, in partnership with Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency, developed a set of Core Competences to guide cooking teaching. This helps school staff to see what skills and abilities children should have by the time they reach a certain age group.
A wealth of information and resources are available from the BNF; a helpful Teacher Centre hosts a variety of useful tips and tools, as well as detailed information on the food competences and curriculum.