What approach does your school take with the meals it provides?

We asked three schools how they each approach nutrition, alternative diets and treats
Ben Evans is headmaster of Edge Grove School

“At Edge Grove, we aim to provide more than just a pit stop to refuel at lunchtimes.

“Our menus are carefully written to ensure meals are well-balanced, nutritional and delicious. There is always plenty of choice, a full salad bar, homemade soup and bread, a range of cold puddings and always something hot and often with custard! The younger pupils have free access to crudités on the tables and everyone can have seconds. As an Eco School, we are also keen to practise what we preach. We have weekly meat-free Mondays which are especially popular and most recently, pupils have been looking at their carbon footprint, so we ensure we use seasonal fruit and vegetables as much as possible. Palm oil and single-use plastics are also on our list of things to avoid. Our boarders’ breakfasts are on a par with most 5* hotels and suppers give pupils an opportunity to choose from a list of their favourite dishes from around the world. Our aim is to encourage children to eat well and enjoy good food, and there is always room for the odd treat or two as well.” 

Ben Evans, headmaster, Edge Grove School

Hilary Phillips is headmistress of Monmouth School Girls’ Prep

“We are not food police. School is about education and that means at lunchtime too. We cater for all diets with a balance of foods available, cooked well and looking attractive, then we gently supervise and ask the children to comment on the balance of their own meals. Sticky toffee pudding is still firmly on the menu and we don’t insist on completely clean plates. We ask and then trust the children to eat vegetables, salad and fruit. Food should be enjoyable, meals a time for chat and relaxation, not a time for pressure. We are teaching our children to make good choices and with time and care, they do.”   

Hilary Phillips, headmistress, Monmouth School Girls’ Prep 

Lisa Richards is head chef at Taunton School

“Catering for hundreds of pupils, staff and guests at Taunton School is virtually a non-stop task. We have our own in-house catering team (something which is a rare quality these days), and provide three hot meals a day, seven days a week. As a school which has strong ‘green’ ambitions, sourcing produce from local suppliers and our own kitchen garden ensures that the environmental impact is minimal. Providing a healthy and balanced diet is a vital function of the department and all meals include a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, dairy, protein and a vegetarian option is always available.” 

Lisa Richards, head chef, Taunton School

You might also like: The challenge of school dinners in the modern age


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