School Dinners: let us know what worked for you

14 Oct 2007

School meals are healthier than ever -- but fewer pupils are eating them.

What is to be done about this? The government has set new targets for school meal take-up. But in the end, targets count for nothing unless schools can persuade children to come into the canteen.

After an article for BBC News Online (see 'articles' page), I appealed for schools to share with us all what has worked for them.

One Suffolk school has shared its secret of success (see below) I hope others will follow.

If you are a student or a parent, please let us know what would make a difference to you.

User Comments

Geoff Barton, Head, King Edward VI Bury St Edmunds . - 14 Oct 2007

School Dinners: our succesful recipe

We're a 1330 comprehensive school in Suffolk and we've taken the bold step of taking over the catering provision from the (decidedly mediocre) Suffolk County Catering. We've created Le Bistro which serves a plat du jour for £2 (main course and pudding); pasta; an amazing salad bar. Thee are table-cloths on tables, china plates, water and cutlery laid out for students. There's a deli bar, a hot chocolate machine. Tea and coffee are organic and Fairtrade. Meat and vegetables are locally sourced. We employ our own Head Chef (his signature on his whites, of course!) and have expanded the team.

The result? Numbers sitting down to good food have gone through through the roof, we are taking £1000 a day (25% more than our best-ever takings in the past), and we can't keep up with demand. The most telling sign of our success is the number of Sixth Form students and staff who choose to eat their lunch together in Le Bistro.

We simply don't believe that young people don't want great food in civilised surroundings.

We think the secret is that we've made it all feel very non-schooly, very commercial, very chic and contemporary

Derek Fisher - 05 Nov 2007

School meals uptake

As with everything in good it isn't more money that is required to get kids to eat in school.Focussed enthusiasm within the existing budget will do it. Well done Geoff Barton.

Now please set up an "Academy" where you can teach others what works.

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