Founded in 2007, School Food Matters has been working with schools to ensure they get the best out of their school meal services and to deliver quality food education. As a small charity, we partner with organisations such Food for Life Partnership, FFL Catering Mark and Sustain in order to scale up our reach.
At School Food Matters we recommend that schools strive to deliver a Food for Life Catering Mark bronze menu as a minimum standard. In London Borough of Richmond, by working closely with the local authority and head teachers, we have managed to move 30 primary schools from an unpopular frozen ‘ready meal’ service to meals freshly prepared on site meeting the silver Catering Mark standard. The take-up of meals in these schools doubled and most significantly, the meal price to parents came down. The progress continues and in 2014, children at these primary schools will be enjoying a gold menu and the meal price will still be below the price paid for the frozen meal of old!
To receive our hands-on support, schools can become members and pay an annual subscription of £175. This gives schools access to our food growing and cooking projects and our expertise in securing a school meal service meeting our goals of freshly prepared food, cooked on site by training staff from high quality, sustainable ingredients.
With the support of the Daylesford Foundation we are now able to offer our member schools the additional service of getting them on the Food for Life Partnership Awards ladder. We will work with member schools to ensure that they are awarded for their good work so that they can act as ambassadors for others.
We have devised the Award Support programme with the Daylesford Foundation as we have found that some Heads, despite doing great work, have not applied for a Partnership award. This is significant because we need good practice to be emulated. One Head summed this up most eloquently “We don’t prioritise food to get awards but because it’s the best thing we can do for our children. We went through the Food for Life Partnership process because awards encourage other schools to follow our lead.”
In the 2013/14 academic year our target is to progress 15 schools on the Food for Life Partnership journey. As a minimum they will have enrolled in the programme, become part of the Partnership’s community and be benefiting from free on-line resources. If already enrolled, we will move them onto a bronze award and onwards up the awards ladder. We will be reporting on our progress in our monthly “School Report” for the Daylesford Foundation website celebrating the steps our member schools have taken towards a Partnership award.