Schools and chefs prepare for roll-out of free school meals

Schools and chefs prepare for roll-out of free school meals

Schools and chefs prepare for roll-out of free school meals

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

INFANT pupils can look forward to a free school meal from September, with all schools in Bucks putting plans in place to get ready for the change.

As part of a Government pledge to provide free lunches to all Key Stage One pupils, Bucks County Council is currently implementing the plan using a £1.1million grant.

All 160 infant and combined schools in the county have either put in place, or are looking at, different arrangements to put food on the table for four to seven year-olds.

Mike Appleyard, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "We're absolutely committed to providing our primary children with a nutritious meal daily.

“I'm convinced by the very robust research that shows children are more attentive and focused on learning if they get nutritious food at lunchtime."

Half of the schools already serve meals every day using a ‘hub and satellite’ arrangement, with seven strategically placed in the county kitchens despatching food.

Using the cash, these have been given extra capacity to handle additional demand.

Of the remaining 63, 10 schools are creating their own solutions, like Haddenham St Mary's.

Here, top chef and friend of the school Raymond Blanc has inspired them to consider using local produce, cooked locally, to serve a number of partner schools with nutritious meals.

The other 53 are exploring two potential 'super kitchen' providers, who would provide plated meals with no waste and no washing up. Sample tastings will take place over the next two or three weeks.

Simon Brown, operations manager joint commissioning for BCC, said it has been a challenge meeting the demand on a finite budget.

He said: "Our fantastic chef-led hub and satellite system has given us a strong basis on which to build.

“We'll be in a position to serve nutritious meals to all 20,000 Key Stage 1 pupils in our schools, within budget, many of which have no catering facilities. And that has, on occasions, stretched the extents of our creativity and resourcefulness, but we rose to the challenge and we're almost there!"

Comments (2)

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1:07pm Tue 8 Jul 14

MCarey says...

I don't like the fact that schools are saying absolutely NO packed lunches, its the school dinners or you have to take your child home for lunch and bring them back! what about children who will refuse to eat the school meals and the disruption taking kids in and out of school Holmer Green First School please take note.
I don't like the fact that schools are saying absolutely NO packed lunches, its the school dinners or you have to take your child home for lunch and bring them back! what about children who will refuse to eat the school meals and the disruption taking kids in and out of school Holmer Green First School please take note. MCarey
  • Score: 1

7:30am Wed 9 Jul 14

Allymay says...

Yeh your right...... Not all the meals will be to your child's taste . Packed lunch should still be your personal option. How can we just pop out from work to collect our children, take them home, prepare them lunch, and then take them back. We would never so that in a hour! My daughters school is 4 mile away. Try travelling that and do lunch in a hour.
I sometimes wonder who sits and think of the ideas . And to top it off , my daughter hates school meals and I had to pay for them.
Thanks but no thanks.
Yeh your right...... Not all the meals will be to your child's taste . Packed lunch should still be your personal option. How can we just pop out from work to collect our children, take them home, prepare them lunch, and then take them back. We would never so that in a hour! My daughters school is 4 mile away. Try travelling that and do lunch in a hour. I sometimes wonder who sits and think of the ideas . And to top it off , my daughter hates school meals and I had to pay for them. Thanks but no thanks. Allymay
  • Score: 0

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