I read with much interest the recent findings of the National Food Strategy. As an independent contract caterer to primary and secondary schools, I was especially focused on the areas relevant to children and the report's recommendation for The Department of Education (DfE) to launch a new ‘Eat and Learn’ initiative for schools, aimed at children aged 3-18 years.
It recommends five core elements: curriculum changes, accreditation, inspection, funding and recruitment & training. The report says changes to the curriculum are needed because ‘food education remains a second-class subject’.
At Relish, we believe we have a duty of care to ensure our young customers are fuelled with nutrition for physical growth, mental development and sustainability throughout afternoon school.
We therefore load our main meals with vegetables and nutrients which all comply with the School Food Standards.
The report also advises on ‘sensory food education’, something we already do, because we feel we have a responsibility to broaden the food experiences and extend the tasting palates of the children.
In terms of accreditation, the recommendation is that schools should adopt a ‘whole-school approach’, by integrating food into the school life, whilst working with accreditation schemes such as Food for Life. This is an excellent idea and we already work with Food for Life to improve school food and education.
The report suggests Ofsted includes inspections on the quality of food and nutrition lessons with the same rigour it does for English or maths.
We’d be delighted to invite Ofsted to join us at Relish for lunch at one of our schools, or indeed at our hugely popular cookery clubs, healthy living days, assembly talks or even at a parent masterclass.
The recommendation on funding is to double the funding for the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme from £40.4m to £80.8m, with the money going directly to schools. There’s simply little more to say here, other than ‘yes, absolutely’.
For further information about Relish School Food visit https://relishschoolfood.co.uk.