School Catering Award
Returning for 2023 presented to an educational establishment in the UK that can demonstrate a commitment to healthy eating and value for money through the provision of a first class catering service available to all students.
2023 Winner: Leger Education Trust, South Yorkshire
Launched across three schools, Leger Education Trust has replaced several carbon-heavy meat-based dishes with sustainable plant-based alternatives, helping children to make the connection between their food and its impact on the planet. The dishes, from Quorn hot dogs to vegetable lasagne, have proven extremely popular with pupils and staff alike. The initiative has seen the Trust recognised by the ProVeg School Plates Awards, which launched earlier this year to encourage low-carbon menus across UK schools.
Stormont School, Essex
Washingborough Academy, Lincolnshire
John Gulson Primary School, Coventry
Overdale Junior School, Leicester
Last year, Overdale Junior School became the first school in Leicester to achieve the prestigious Gold Food for Life award from the Soil Association. The school constantly promotes free school meal entitlement and strives to increase the general uptake of school dinners. Parents are invited to taster sessions and the school held its inaugural ‘Lunchtime Companion Get Together’, which gave children had the opportunity to socialise and chat over lunchtime with older people.
Orton CofE School, Cumbria
St Leonard’s Catholic Primary School, Tyne and Wear
Blackpool Church of England Primary School, Devon
Ashton Vale Primary School, Bristol
Finham Park 2, Coventry
Finham’s Food Preparation and Nutrition room has 20 cooking stations for pupils to work independently as well as offer the use of technology to make learning accessible for all. It features essential kitchen tools as well as sous vide, dehydrators and a blast chiller. ‘Grub Club’ is an after school club for Pupil Premium and vulnerable students where they are taught to cook a cheap, healthy meal. During preparation the school band plays for the students, and after cooking they sit down to eat together, and even serve each other. Food technology teacher Andrew Hartshorn has recently been recognised in a national teaching award for the quality of his teaching.
Woodlands Primary School, Merseyside
Riverside Junior School, West Yorkshire
Nottingham City Council
Benenden School, Kent
The Holmewood School, London
The Occupational Therapy Café started life as a way to help a student who was at risk of exclusion due to poor behaviour. Staff nurtured the student’s interest in cooking and developed a programme that swiftly improved his conduct. Expanding the project for other pupils, a team of five students, including a baker, senior chef and several trainees, supported by occupational therapists, was created. In 2017-18 the team successfully catered for three major events. Café members have not only improved their motor skills through cooking but also boosted their confidence navigating social situations
Cardinal Newman Catholic High School, Cheshire
Cardinal Newman Catholic High School’s excellent catering service links engaging assemblies on nutritional and environmental issues directly to the menu choices available to students. Working closely with the school council, new additions to the menu are taste-tested by the student body. The catering team generated £20,000 in income last financial year, and has worked with the Eco-Warriors student group to improve recycling facilities for canteen waste in partnership. The student council selected the containers used for takeaway food, which are now made from a highly recyclable cardboard.
Dinnington High School, Sheffield
Dinnington High School has created an excellent menu with a wide variety of options that cater to all tastes, cultural needs and dietary requirements. The menu has a strong focus on well-sourced ingredients which includes at least five per cent organic produce and Red Tractor Farm Assured meat. The school has also committed to improving food education sessions for pupils, staff and the wider school community. In achieving the Soil Association’s Silver Award, the catering manager worked closely with nutritionists. A celebration day was held to thank students for their feedback in developing the school menu.
Peel Brow School, Lancashire
The catering team at Peel Brow School have been praised for contributing in a proactive way to improve school food and ensure children are eating healthily. Parent Lunches provides an opportunity for parents to sample the meals themselves. Resources include practical tips for making healthier lunches. Raised planting beds were created to enable the school to grow their own vegetables as part of the ‘Farm to Fork’ initiative, which follows on from efforts to make school meals healthier and teach pupils about the importance of food miles. Since the changes, the number eating school meals has risen steadily.
Charlton Manor Primary School, London
Charlton Manor focuses on educating pupils about healthy eating and provides them with many opportunities to try different foods. The varied palette of flavours ensures they receive the necessary nutrition for their developing bodies. The chef together with his team continually finds ways of reducing sugar and cutting out salt and fat. Fresh produce is grown in the school garden and community garden as well as the eggs from the hens and the honey from the bees. The chef also runs the school café, which is open to parents and the community every day before and after school and on Saturdays from 10am–2pm.
Liscard Primary School, Merseyside
Matravers School, Wiltshire
St Helen and St Katharine, Oxfordshire
The Barlow RC High School & Specialist Science College
The Barlow RC High is proud of the service that Catering Manager Joanne oversees, motivating her team through continuous improvement and training, including enrolling them onto NVQ’s in Food preparation and Cooking. Students at the Barlow particularly enjoy the breakfast service and the new noodle and rice boxes which are packed with vegetables and come in recyclable containers.
Christ Church CE Primary School
Harrogate Grammar School
Falkner House, London
Lowerplace Primary School
Ballard School, Hampshire
Ballard School ensures that healthy eating is key to school curriculum. Innovative chefs provide a vast and well prepared menu, with unhealthy foods, such as those that were fried or baked, disappearing from school plates. The school also implemented a ‘Healthy Eating Working Group’, ensuring the topic remains on the agenda, and recently supported Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day among other worthwhile initiatives.
St Thomas Primary School, Huddersfield
Haberdashers Monmouth School for Girls, Monmouthshire
North Liverpool Academy Bishops Stortford College, Hertfordshire
Trafalgar Infant School, Richmond
Trafalgar Infant School used its experiences raising money for a school vegetable garden in Tanzania to grow and cook their own Tanzanian inspired exotic foods. Pupils filled growing beds with new produce such as okra, chickpeas and coriander, before using them in their own creative and diverse recipes.
Loughborough Endowed Schools, Leicestershire
Bishop’s Stortford College, Hertfordshire
Arden Academy, West Midlands
Lodge Lane Infant School, Norfolk