Transforming school food and drink
Welcome to the Leeds School Meals website. Eating a healthy school meal will help you achieve your change 4 life goals click here to go to the change for life website
School Food Ambassadors: A student-led monitoring programme for school food
The choices children, young people and their parents or carers make about their diet can have both a short and longer term impact on their health, learning, emotional wellbeing and self-esteem.
We set up a school food ambassador programme to give students the opportunity to be involved in monitoring their own school meals to improve the quality of food and make sure the dining room is a pleasant place to eat and promote social interactions. They will help to ensure that future school food services develop in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. More information and guidance can be found on the monitoring page or access the documents here.
Healthy school lunch - Yes No Sometimes Game
A game has been developed to support the School Food Ambassador Programme to help schools and pupils better understand the government school food standards and help their role in monitoring the quality of school menus. It can be played with families in the community such as Children Centres and nurseries to prepare families for school; it is also part of the Be Healthy Fun Days.
It offers a fun healthy eating activity about the importance of eating healthily in school to aid learning by empowering students and families to think about the importance of a healthy school lunch and help them in making healthier choices in a simple, fun and engaging way. The resources are available here.
A new system for high schools to increase free school meal uptake and improve attainment outcomes
Our research found many secondary school pupils go without their free school meal, choosing to go hungry, or snack on confectionery. This innovative programme aims to improve access to a healthier school lunch that meets their needs. The concept was approved by LCC legal team to ensure the offer complied with the 2002 Education Act and the national school food standards. The programme complements the free school meal toolkit. The guidance is available here
A case study that promotes parental involvement in school and their child’s education
In 2011 the Education Bill amendments will introduce flexible charging to enable governing bodies to charge less for school meals provided to children in reception classes at the start of term or children of families on low incomes not eligible for free school meals, in order to encourage them to take school meals. Use of flexible charging will be optional and subject to local circumstances. This change will not affect the provision of free school meals (and free milk) to eligible pupils. More information and a case study that reflects this vision can be found here
Tips on how to set up a happy healthy breakfast club.
'Children who attend [a breakfast club] are happier, display better behaviours and manage their emotions more suitably. This allows access to improved learning for all.' (Ofsted)
Breakfast clubs are not intended as a replacement of quality family time however, they can offer an alternative option when breakfast in another environment is a welcome choice or more convenient. Missing breakfast can reduce the ability to learn, a breakfast club prepares students to learn, provides a positive social period to have fun before school and can improve attendance. Guidance on setting up a happy, healthy breakfast club can be found here.
FREE Resource promoting free school meals
Five one minute long videos and supporting PSCHE lesson plans to encourage more eligible children and young people to benefit from free school meals can be accessed on the
free school meal page. We worked with Leeds pupils and community television network, The Life Channel, to create these short films.
Drinks Policy Guidance for Schools
A quick and easy guide aimed at school, youth centres, workplaces and health promotion settings to encourage children and young people to choose healthier drinks that provide nutrients to promote hydration prevent tooth decay and improve performance. For more information go to the Packed lunch/Drinks page.
A Guide on how to get the best meals service for your school from your Council provider
It is recommended that before schools renew their Service Level Agreements they meet with the provider to negotiate a Service Level Agreement that meets the needs of the school. A guidance document has been produced by the School Meals Strategy Team and Commissioning, Procurement and Business Development to assist PRUs, SILCs, Children’s Centres, Primary and Secondary schools with their negotiations. It is available on the Catering Provision page.
School Food Trust - Marketing and Promoting school meals
The School Food Trust has developed numerous marketing programmes targeting students and parents. The Marketing and Design Generator (MADGe) is an online resource that is pre populated with resources to promote themes and campaigns that schools can use to market school meals, activities and promotions taking place in the school dining room. Schools can download and design their own posters, letters, stickers and even online adverts with fun and exciting themes and designs tailor made for use in their own schools. For more information go to www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/madge
Research findings released
Education Leeds commissioned three research projects to help inform our aim to increase school meal uptake. The research has enabled us to use the views of pupils and parents to ensure we achieve a school food service that meets their needs. It has so far helped to inform a range of important interventions detailed on the website. Details of the research can be found using the links below.
A two year action research programme investigating why many children in Leeds do not take their free school meal. Go to Free School Meals for more information.
A research study of Leeds school meal cooks to gain further understanding by investigating their opinions on barriers and facilitating factors to improve school meals. Go to Catering Provision page for more information.
A survey of Headteachers, investigating their opinions and gathering insights to improve the school meals service.
The aim of this website is to:
This site is particularly useful for:
The team are keen to ensure this site meets your needs, and will be updating the site with new projects and developments regularly, but if you feel you have some ideas for information that would be useful on the site please let us know.