At St. George’s CE Primary School we recognise the importance of a healthy life-style and diet, and understand that establishing a balanced diet in childhood helps establish healthy eating habits for life. We also recognise that there is a strong link between a healthy diet and effective learning. Our school aims include: Provide a calm and positive environment, where children and staff are safe, healthy, happy, confident and motivated.
Whole School Food Mission Statement
To influence and improve the health of the whole school community by providing pupils and their families with ways to establish and maintain lifelong healthy eating habits that benefit both themselves and the environment. This will be accomplished by providing high quality food education and ensuring we deliver a consistent message with regard to food and a healthy life-style throughout the school day.
Aims and Objectives
At St. George’s CE Primary School we aim to:
- Improve the health of our school community by influencing their eating habits through increasing their knowledge and awareness of a healthy diet, and how to ensure that the food is prepared hygienically;
- To give our children, parents and staff the information they need to make healthy choices;
- To ensure that we are giving a consistent message about food and health throughout the school day and maximise opportunities to promote a healthy diet;
- To ensure that the food and drink available throughout the school day meets government standards for food in school and to make the provision and consumption of food an enjoyable and safe experience;
- To build the confidence of parents in the school meal service;
- To support the provision of healthy packed lunches and snacks;
- To ensure that the food provision in school reflects the ethical and medical needs of staff and pupils, e.g. catering for religious groups and vegetarians and people with food-related allergies.
The school will enrich children’s experience of food, physical exercise and healthy balanced diets through its science, PSHE, PE and DT curriculum. A range of skills and understanding will be developed through a range of teaching approaches and resources. Curriculum content will focus on:
- The importance of food groups and the role they play in promoting growth;
- The development of strong healthy bodies;
- What constitutes a balanced diet and the proportions advocated by the ‘balance of good health’ model;
- An understanding of cultural diversity;
- The development of respect and understanding towards the beliefs and attitudes of others;
- The sustainability of our food supply and the effect on our planet.
Theme weeks, reward schemes and assemblies will also be used to explore health and food-related issues.
The Dining Environment
St George’s is committed to providing a welcoming eating environment that encourages the positive social and cultural interaction of pupils and staff. The school is also committed to the following:
- Help for children (particularly young children) who find the physical process of school dinners or packed lunch difficult – for example, carrying trays, opening tubs or packets;
- Encouraging all children to eat the food they have been provided with;
- Provision of water jugs, containing clean water and beakers;
- Encouraging the labelling of food served to encourage a balanced, healthy diet;
- Encouraging children to wash their hands before eating.
School Meal Provision and Packed Lunches
Children and staff at St. George’s CE Primary School have the choice of purchasing a school meal or bringing a packed lunch from home. The school works to create a sociable dining environment and to encourage the development of good table manners. Children all eat together in the school hall and are encouraged to take their time to eat their dinner and to eat as much of it as possible. The school is dedicated to providing a balanced menu of school dinners. The head, has the responsibility for ensuring that the school’s meals providers, Caterlink, offer a wide range of nutritious and attractive meals to children that meet the Government nutritional standards for school lunches and to ensure children with individual dietary needs, due to medical, cultural or religious reasons are catered for appropriately. Feedback will be sought from parents and children, to monitor and evaluate the food provision. Parents are encouraged to support the school’s healthy eating policy by providing a healthy, balanced packed lunch. The school council has provided guidance to parents and children of what constitutes a healthy lunchbox through a newsletter and an assembly. The school actively discourages some packed lunch foods and snacks. These include the following – crisps, sweets, chocolate bars, squash with added sugar and/or sweeteners and fizzy drinks.
Eating healthily and keeping hydrated
Children are encouraged to bring a healthy snack in from home to eat at morning break. KS1 children are provided with a portion of fruit or vegetable through the National School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme. Any surplus of fruit or vegetables is distributed to KS2 children. We do not currently have a tuck shop or use vending machines in our school, however, if we decide to do so in the future, the food policy will be applied to all items sold. After-school care is currently provided by North Down Kidz who also follow the school’s food policy. Children are allowed to bring water bottles to school with them every day as we believe it is vital for a healthy mind and body. Children may also use the water fountains around the school.
Physical Activity and Fitness Challenges
Physical activity is encouraged and fully supported in every way. As a school all children take part in three fitness challenges each year and our school takes part in many sporting competitions such as football, netball and kwik cricket. Our fitness challenges this year have comprised a fun run, boot camp and Olympic athletics.
Active Extracurricular Activities
The school offers a vast number of extracurricular opportunities that encourage healthy living; gymnastics, tag-rugby, dance, lawn bowls to name but a few. This year we have also offered a cookery club which was very successful and enabled children to learn about eating healthily.
The school recognises that pupil achievement should be celebrated and rewarded when appropriate, and that food can play a role in such celebration. Food given, as a reward for achievement, will be very limited and form part of a balanced, healthy diet. Staff will be discouraged from giving foods or drinks high in sugar, such as sweets or squash, as rewards.
Children are always reminded about the importance of hand washing before eating or handling food. Whenever children work with food in the classroom they are helped to follow basic hygiene routines including; using clean equipment, always washing hands before and after working with the food, using an individual spoon etc. when tasting food.
The healthy schools coordinator, the headteacher, classroom staff and lunchtime staff monitor this policy on a day-to-day basis. Evaluation of the progress, made by the school in implementing and sustaining the aims and objectives of this policy, will be made by the governor with responsibility for healthy schools and the head teacher.