Ban on junk food extended to secondary and special schools

3rd July 2009 at 01:00
New rules also aim to encourage more social interaction among children during mealtimes

Tough new standards to boost the quality of food served to children will be introduced in secondary and special schools this September.

Salty, fatty and sugary lunches and snacks will be scrapped a year after new rules on food were enforced in primaries. Special schools have been given more time to prepare because of their circumstances.

Cooks must now meet 14 nutritional standards, which campaigners say could have big social benefits.

As well as helping those who find the canteen intimidating - such as autistic pupils - schools must make sure all pupils can take advantage of the social side of lunch breaks. This includes making sure they get to sit together and are able to use technology to choose from a menu.

"Children have complex needs, but they still need a healthy diet," said Michael Nelson, director of research and nutrition at the School Food Trust. "Special schools face problems of how to get food to the pupils: for example, many won't be able to use a serving counter or make individual choices, and we want staff to be able to overcome these problems."

The guidelines were trialled in six pilot schools in London, Buckinghamshire and Norfolk, and produced in conjunction with the NHS.

In their conclusions, it was recommended that one member of the senior management team should have responsibility for food and for writing a formal school policy.

At the Livity School, a special school in south London, council officers were concerned about a lack of social interaction at lunchtimes. Catering staff were trained to use sign language and to introduce pictures to help children choose food, as well as voice buttons so that pupils could hear what was on the menu.

Happier eaters

Put a Velcro board in classrooms and display pictures of the day's menu so pupils can think about what they want to eat.

- Put a display board with the daily menu in the dining hall that can be seen by pupils when queuing.

- Colour-code the menu around food types so pupils have a clear way to choose a balanced meal.

- Display food where it can be seen as this will help pupils to choose.

- Use familiar language on the menu and encourage pupils to be independent in making their own food choices.

- Some pupils may benefit from a quieter environment at lunchtime - try to identify a suitable area close to the dining area.

- Train lunchtime assistants to support pupils with eating and drinking, including suitable methods to deal with pupils' challenging behaviour.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now