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School Dinner Envy

Food can be inspiring, energising and fun. It can be, but on the whole it isn’t.

My lunch today will be nothing special and looking out across the office, my colleagues don’t seem to be savouring hand rolled sushi, fondant potatoes or a slow poached ballotine of lamb either.

But what if it could be different? What if, instead of the usual fare, home grown veg was expertly cooked for you today? Or what if, perhaps, your on-site farm was providing the basis for your organic lunch for just £2?

In some schools across the UK this is happening right now. Children are experiencing cuisine inspired from parts of the globe they may never have even heard of until they ask “what is this?”

The School Food Plan is an incredibly inspiring project that has captured the attention of TheSchoolBus and, you could say, made us a little jealous of what will be served to hungry pupils this lunch time.

The plan has been created by Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, leading experts in the food industry. If you have not heard of this plan we recommend you take a look and gleam some ideas for your school. Short videos of invigorated school canteens (or ‘bistros’ as they are now known in some forward thinking establishments) highlight where some schools have got it right and how they did it.

The location of Phoenix High School is a far cry from the sweeping fields punctuated by bovine silhouettes those of us lucky enough to live near the countryside can appreciate on these long summer days. Situated in the sixth-most deprived area in the country, the White City Estate in West London, the school has been transformed via a forward thinking Executive Headteacher.

Sir William Atkinson saw an opportunity to plant a love of nature into his pupils through some creative methods. An inner-city farm has been utilised to instil a love of nature and appreciation of wholesome food in pupils that prior to an arranged agricultural visit had “never seen the stars”. Incredibly, 12 pupils from the high school are now studying City & Guilds Land Based Studies at Level 2.

Unimpressed and increasingly frustrated with the ‘food’ on offer via the LA, East Sheen Primary School ditched the contract and went at it alone – with extraordinary consequences. Parents now come in both to help prepare the meals and sometimes to eat them alongside their children. Children are educated on why junk food is bad and eat their meals off real plates with ‘grown up’ cutlery. A remarkable increase in uptake now means 95% of pupils now eat schools meals.

If you have five minutes today, take a look at the engaging video created to promote the project and I guarantee, even if you don’t feel your school needs a change, you will feel your lunch box does.

TheSchoolBus has sample ‘Whole School Food Policy’ and ‘Packed Lunch Policy’ templates and advice from leading caterers in the education sector. Take a look at the most innovative resource for school leaders today


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