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Outstanding School Dinner Award

Winner: Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College, Preston, Lancashire

Catering at Corpus Christi has been transformed since it appointed a new chef and opened a new restaurant last year called Il Cenacolo.

While only 20 per cent of pupils used to eat in the school's old dining hall, 85 per cent now dine in the restaurant.

As well as providing a full hot breakfast, the school's chef has ensured there is a choice of four hot meals at lunchtime and a variety of homemade desserts. All meals are freshly prepared and the kitchen works closely with local traders to ensure food is of high quality, healthy and locally produced. Students can also choose from a wide selection of sandwiches and salads, as well as homemade soup, in the deli bar.

Cashless catering has helped take away the stigma of free school meals, and the proportion of eligible pupils now taking them up has increased from 30 to 90 per cent. Above all, students and staff have praised Il Cenacolo for making lunches tastier and more sociable.

Judges' verdict: The panel was already impressed with this school, which had been a finalist last year. But this year it has improved still further, and now has the data to show the vast increase in children choosing to eat at Il Cenacolo. The school's organic garden also stood out.

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