Everything You Need to Know About Healthy Eating at School!

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Click here for our current menu.

On this page you can find everything you need to know about how we approach eating in school including information about school dinners, healthy packed lunches and free school meals (including how to apply).  We hope this answers all your questions but please do not hesitate to pop in and see us if you have any concerns at all – eating at school can be a daunting prospect for many children and we want to make it a pleasurable and healthy experience for all.  Keri, our Catering Manager, or Julian will be happy to answer any specific questions that you have.

Our school dinner menu is sent home on a termly basis and a copy can always be found on this page of the website as well as the home page.  Our puddings are often planned on the day based upon what is in season, especially what fruit is available from the school garden.  We typically put a daily menu on the school door so you can look at the pudding option as well as the main course.

School Dinners

All meals are cooked on site by our catering team Keri and Gemma, who are employed through Devon Norse.  Our school dinner menu follows strict nutritional guidelines laid down by Devon County Council and our aim is to encourage all children to enjoy eating healthy food by offering a range of choices including a daily salad bar with 6 options and fruit as well as a range of vegetable side dishes.  Our puddings use lower sugar recipes and we often add hidden vegetables to our meals to ensure that children eat a varied diet and do not miss out on nutritional content because they do not like the vegetables served as side dishes.  For example our desert cakes may contain courgette and beetroot may be used in chocolate puddings, as well as using vegetables in sauces.  We use fruit from our school garden where possible, as well as fresh vegetables grown in school or sourced locally.

We want our children to enjoy their mealtime experience.  We encourage them to try different foods and eat a balanced meal, however we do not operate a policy of forcing children to finish meals as we believe that can lead to a lifelong dislike of eating specific types of food.

We provide free school dinners for all children in Reception, Class 1 and Class 2.  Once children move into Classes 3 and 4 school dinners are available for just £2.20 per day.   Our two-week menu follows government nutritional standards and changes termly.  We offer three or four healthy options each day including a main meal, a vegetarian option, a jacket potato and a school-made packed lunch.

Children select their lunch choices at morning registration.  Please talk about their choice before, or on the way to, school so that they remember what they like (and want) each day, otherwise the process can take a big chunk out of our learning time.

We are used to catering for children with a wide range of allergies – please let us know when your child commences school or is first diagnosed with an allergy so we can be sure to cater appropriately.  We ask that you respect our NUT-FREE school status.

Packed Lunches in Key Stage 2 (Classes 3 and 4)

Children may bring in packed lunches for lunch time.  We ask that you consider healthy eating when making lunch choices.  Healthy snacks are allowed but please no chocolate, fizzy drinks or heavily salted snacks.  We also ask you to consider the environmental impact of pre-packed products.

Children in Key Stage 1 (Classes 1 and 2) are provided with a free school meal each day – the menu options contain packed lunch style meals as well as hot food.  We encourage all families to utilise the school meals however appreciate that some children may wish to bring in their own packed lunch.

School Trips

Children in Class 1 and 2 will be provided with a packed lunch when they are away on school trips.  Choices will typically be selected a few days beforehand.   These lunches are prepared in line with the same nutritional guidelines as our daily school dinners.  Where we provide cookies these are baked in school using low sugar recipes, we offer small portions of dried fruit as a snack and we offer a range of filled roll options.

Playtime Snacks

Through a government scheme, children in Class 1 and 2 are provided with a piece of fresh fruit or veg every day. We encourage children in Classes 3 and 4 to bring healthy snacks for their playtime.  We consider this to be pieces of fruit or veg like the younger children – please don’t pack chocolate, biscuits, sweets or crisps.

Drinking Water

Children are encouraged to bring a bottle of water to school and to drink through the school day.  They should be brought home daily for a clean and re-fill.  We don’t allow juices, squash or flavoured water in the drinking bottles according to advice given by the School Nurse team. They aren’t good for the teeth and we’ve found that children also end up having mouldy bottles where they’ve left them for too long!  The water in the classrooms is safe to drink.

Rewards and Treats

We don’t use food as incentives or rewards.  We do somethings share treats at celebration times.  In particular we mark birthdays with a cupcake for the birthday boy or girl which is offered instead of a pudding at lunch time.  We ask that children do not come into school with sweets or treats on their birthday or as part of school trips as we believe that the school menus offered provide a sufficiently rounded meal for all children and we do not wish to promote excessive sugar consumption in the classroom.

Free School Meals FUNDING

Free school meal funding is available to some families.  Schools receive extra funding for children that meet the criteria for free school meals, and you also get a free meal for your child.   Along with many schools, we have seen a drop in applications for free school meals since the introduction in September 2014 of universal free meals (the free dinners in Class 1 and 2) for children in Key Stage 1.  Please consider applying for free school meals if you think you are eligible, as the funding can make a real difference to families and schools.

How do I qualify for Free School Meals?

Free school meals are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parents are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit (provided they have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of their most recent assessment periods)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided they’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

In addition, the following pupils will be protected against losing their free school meals:

  • From 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if their earnings rise above the new threshold during that time.
  • In addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period.
  • Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (i.e. primary or secondary). The Universal Credit rollout is currently expected to complete in March 2022.

You can call 0845 155 1019 for information and advice about Free School Meals or visit www.new.devon.gov.uk or click here to download application form.