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Create A Whole School Food Policy

Here is what St Mark's have done:


In our school we are committed to giving all our pupils consistent messages about all aspects of health to help them understand the impact of particular behaviours, and encourage them to take responsibility for the choices they make. This policy should be read alongside the school's PSHCE, drug, and sex and relationship policies.

The school supports the '5-A-DAY' campaign to encourage children to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, which has been shown to reduce the onset of certain life-threatening conditions, as well as being helpful in tackling and preventing childhood obesity.

We have used the following approach to identify what areas we need to change to develop a more healthy approach to the issue of food in our school:

  • How well are we doing?
  • How well should we be doing?
  • What more should we aim to achieve?
  • What must we do to make it happen?
  • What action should we take and how do we review progress?

St. Mark's is a healthy school. It is important that we consider all elements of our work to ensure that we promote health awareness in all members of the school community. We can provide a valuable role model to pupils and their families with regard to food and healthy-eating patterns.

Through effective leadership, the school ethos and the curriculum, all school staff can bring together all elements of the school day to create an environment which supports a healthy lifestyle.

Aims and Objectives

  • To ensure that we are giving consistent messages about food and health
  • To give our pupils the information they need to make healthy choices
  • To promote health awareness
  • To contribute to the healthy physical development of all members of our school community
  • To encourage all children to take part in the '5-A-DAY' campaign

Settings for food policy
(We do not use vending machines in our school. Currently we do not run a tuck shop but if we decide to do so in the future, the food policy will be applied to all items sold.)

Breakfast club
The breakfast club operates on a daily basis in the school for all children from age 5. We target some children who we know have little or no time for breakfast in the mornings at home.

The food offered is healthy and is consistent with a healthy diet. We provide toast, bread (range of options including white, brown, granary, buns, baps and rolls), low-fat spread, fruit jam, marmite, yoghurt, low-salt/low-sugar fortified cereals (occasionally including Cocopops/Sugarpuffs as a choice), slices of fresh fruit, baked beans and cheese.  Children choose from water, orange juice and apple juice to drink.

All our under-5s are entitled to free milk which is organised by the nursery teacher. All FS and KS 1 classes include a morning breaktime snack of cut and washed fruit to all children, which is shared in a family setting for all class members. Children are given responsibility for passing the fruit to others and for helping to clear away. We are hoping to develop this by taking part in the new Government initiative to provide all infants with free fruit and vegetables during the day, which will mean the snack can also be offered at afternoon play. KS 2 children bring fruit which they eat at playtime — no other snack is allowed during break.

School lunches and packed lunches
All our school meals are provided by a contracted caterer who has a healthy-food policy as part of their tender. Where possible, this includes the use of fresh fruit and vegetables each day as a choice for the children. They provide a hot and cold option, both of which pay regard to nutritional balance and healthy options.

Many children bring packed lunch to school. We regularly include newsletter items about the contents of these and we do not allow sweets, chocolate bars (although we do allow chocolate covered biscuits at present) or fizzy drinks.

Water for all
Cooled water is freely available throughout the school day to all members of the school community. No water fountains are located inside toilet blocks. Every child has been provided with a free bottle to store their water in. Children may drink their water at any time except during the 15-minute assembly. Regular water and brain breaks are built into the school day and curriculum by class teachers. FS and KS 1 children are also reminded to drink water at their snack time, which is provided in named plastic beakers.

Food across the Curriculum
In FS, KS 1 and KS 2, there are a number of opportunities for pupils to develop knowledge and understanding of health, including healthy-eating patterns and practical skills that are needed to understand where food comes from such as shopping, preparing and cooking food.

Literacy provides children with the opportunity to explore poetry, persuasion, argument and narrative work using food and food-related issues as a stimulus, e.g. writing to a company to persuade them to use non-GM foods in children's food and drink etc.

Maths can offer the possibility of understanding nutrition labelling, calculating quantities for recipes, weighing and measuring ingredients.

Science provides an opportunity to learn about the types of food available, their nutritional composition, digestion and the function of different nutrients in contributing to health, and how the body responds to exercise.

RE provides the opportunity to discuss the role of certain foods in the major religions of the world. Children experience different foods associated with religious festivals.

ICT can afford pupils the opportunity to research food issues using the internet and other electronic resources. Pupils design packaging and adverts to promote healthy food choices.

Food Technology as part of DT provides the opportunity to learn about where food comes from and apply healthy-eating messages through practical work with food, including preparation and cooking.

PSHCE encourages young people to take responsibility for their own health and well-being, teaches them how to develop a healthy lifestyle and addresses issues such as body image. Pupils are able to discuss issues of interest to young people, e.g. advertising and sustainable development.

Music can provide pupils with knowledge about different properties of cooked and uncooked foods where pulses and grains are used in unpitched percussion instruments.

Geography provides a focus on the natural world and changing environment, offering the chance to consider the impact our consumer choices have on people across the world who rely on growing food as their source of income.

History provides insight into changes in diet and food over time.

Physical Education provides pupils with the opportunity to develop physically and to understand the practical impact of sport, exercise and other physical activity such as dance and walking.

School visits provide pupils with activities to enhance their physical development, e.g. to activity centres.

Out-of-hours learning includes cookery and gardening clubs from time to time.

Partnership with parents and carers
The partnership of home and school is critical in shaping how children and young people behave, particularly where health is concerned. Each must reinforce the other. This is not always easy but our school is well placed to lead by example.

Parents and carers are regularly updated on our water and packed-lunch policies through school and class newsletters. We ask parents not to send in fizzy drinks and we remind them that only water may be drunk during the school day, except at lunch when children may drink juice or squash.

During out-of-school events, e.g. school discos etc., the school will encourage parents and carers to consider the food policy in the range of refreshments offered for sale to the children.

Role of the Governors
Governors monitor and check that the school policy is upheld and can also offer guidance where a member of the body has particular expertise in this area.

Monitoring and review
The breakfast-club manager is responsible for ensuring that the food served is in accordance with this policy. Key Stage managers and subject managers are responsible for the curriculum development of the food policy. The headteacher and PSHE manager are responsible for supporting colleagues in the delivery of the food policy. The LEA is responsible for ensuring the quality of the food offered as part of the contract with the caterer.

This policy will be reviewed annually to take account of new developments.