We have our own kitchen and school cook who cooks our healthy lunches. Vegetarian and special diets are provided upon request. The children come into lunch in two sittings, on tables mixed between the classes. They are supervised by our teaching assistants, encouraged to try everything on the menu and helped when necessary - cutting up roast potatoes for example.
We expect all children to have a school lunch if at all possible. All our children receive a meal without charge as part of the Government's Free School Meal Initiative. Our cook, Mrs Mansi, cooks the lunches in our own kitchen. We work closely with Twelve15, Surrey County Council’s catering service.
Wherever possible fresh vegetables and potatoes and traditional freshly cooked main courses are served. In the last year more organic dishes have been on the menus and further reductions in salt, sugar and fat have been made. We do not use (or even own) a deep fat fryer so chips are oven baked and are only served once every three weeks.
When Goldfinches start having school lunches there is a Buddy System. Each Goldfinch child is allocated to a Kingfisher or Woodpecker child to be looked after and helped during lunchtimes. This is really helpful for the Goldfinches to have some assistance and to get to know some of the other children in the school. It gives the older children a great sense of responsibility and generates a community feel for all children in the school.
Menus run on a three-week cycle for half a term, and examples are attached in the Twelve15 pack included in the induction pack, and then sent home each time the menu changes. The Twelve15 Website is available from this link: www.myschoollunch.co.uk/surrey. from which the current menus can be seen. All children in infant schools benefit from a free school meal. A guide to the school meals and the producers used is here.
Commercial Services do not allow the use of any mechanically recovered meat products or genetically modified ingredients. The chicken used is pure breast meat and as a part of the Whole School approach we actively encourage the children to try a little of everything. Vegetarian diets can be catered for, as can special diet requirements such as dairy or gluten free. Parents must complete a form (available from the school office) to request a special diet and this is reviewed termly by our caterer.
If a child is ill, please inform the school office by 9.30am and their lunch will not be ordered.
St Mary's offers registered children a daily carton of milk to drink under the Cool Milk scheme. This milk is free for children under five and subsidised for the over fives. Follow the link to register children for this scheme: http://www.coolmilk.com/parents/
Snacks and drinks
We have a Whole School approach to food that includes: fruit or vegetables brought from home; and fresh fruit provided free each day for infant schools by the Government under the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme; and our school lunches. Children bring a named water bottle each day from which they can drink throughout the day in addition to their drink at lunchtime.
The children usually have their Free Fruit in the morning and their snack from home in the afternoon.
Our aim is that all children will have School Meals. Should you decide on packed lunches, these should be equally healthy. We have a no nuts or nut products policy in school and are as nut aware as possible. Please do not send fizzy drinks or cans. Research by the Food Standards Agency in 2004 indicates that three out of four lunchboxes were failing to meet the Government nutritional standards that were set for school meals in 2001. The Food Standards Agency checklist indicates that every day a lunch box should include:
A good portion of starchy food, e.g. Wholegrain bap, thick sliced wholemeal bread, chapatti, pitta pocket, pasta or rice salad
Plenty of fruit and vegetables, e.g. an apple, Satsuma, handful of cherry tomatoes or carrot sticks, fruit chunks or small box of raisins
A portion of semi skimmed milk or dairy food, e.g. individual cheese portion or pot of yoghurt
A portion of lean meat, fish or alternative, e.g. ham, chicken, beef, tuna, egg or hummus
A drink, e.g. fruit juice, semi-skimmed milk or bottle of water.
Click here for ideas and suggestions for healthier lunchboxes, including a menu planner, from the Food Standards Agency.
We have also produced our own leaflet of packed lunch guidelines which is available below…