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It goes without saying that food is a major component of our health and sense of wellbeing. In various ways, food and nutrition have the ability to affect how we feel physically and mentally whether that be through consuming the nutrients that support our body’s processes and functioning, or through the joy and social experience of sharing a delicious meal with friends and family.  

For children and young people especially, good nutrition is an important part of growth and development and can help lower the risk of illness and future diseases and provide the contexts to practice essential social skills and development of autonomy.  


Nutrition is a broad, multi-dimensional topic, with many factors contributing to the foods we choose and have access to in the first place. As such, we don’t expect schools to have all the solutions, but school is an environment that can help provide access to sufficient and nutritious food, support positive eating behaviours and related messaging, and enable pupils to develop the essential knowledge and skills they need as they grow up to best nourish themselves. All of which support pupils to feel more content, are better able to focus and participate, have increased ability to learn, achieve their potential, and make the most of opportunities available to them. 


What does good practice look like?

  • An active pupil council with elected representatives from all year groups – food topics as standing agenda item.  
  • Opportunities for all pupils/staff to share feedback via different methods. 
  • Menus created collaboratively with sustainably sourced, seasonal and local produce where appropriate. 
  • Provision goes above and beyond adherence to School Food Standards (SFS); meals are nutritious and balanced across the whole week and across whole day. 
  • School food is tasty, nutritious, and exciting, and presented/described in such a way; pupils enjoy school food and take-up of school meals is high. 
  • Opportunities to try new recipes and food items are available frequently to pupils. 
  • Drinking water is readily available at various opportunities around school, either through classroom taps, water coolers, or drinking fountains, and pupils are encouraged to drink water freely throughout the day. 
  • FSM information is provided as standard to new parents, and reminders are frequently sent encouraging parents to check eligibility and outline the key benefits for pupils and for the school. Support is given where needed to parents/caregivers in the application process. 
  • Food initiatives are promoted actively e.g., Free School Meals (FSM), extension of free fruit provision.
  • Breakfast clubs are available and are subsidised/free where there is need and/or there is universal breakfast provision in some way. E.g., once a week for each year group. 
  • School food items are priced competitively to encourage pupils to purchase lunch/snacks from school, and more nutritious items are priced favourably compared to other menu items  (secondary school).  
  • Dining area is well-planned and dining experience promotes social aspects of food/eating. For example, round tables, peer-to-peer serving.  
  • Food freedom and autonomy around eating is encouraged and pupils are not exposed to moralistic language around food (e.g., good vs. bad), foods are not demonised, and pupils are not encouraged/rewarded for finishing food or clearing plates or made to feel bad for quantity/choice of food. 
  • Food and nutrition education is embedded in the curriculum and pupils can engage with skills development e.g., cooking, growing. 
  • There are onsite opportunities for pupils to learn about and participate in growing produce and understand where food items come from.
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School Food

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Growing & Sustainability

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