Our Food for Life Journey
Having successfully achieved our Bronze Food for Life (FFL) Award in July 2014 and our Silver Award in October 2016 we are now working hard to achieve the Gold Food for Life Award. We are delighted that we have achieved 9 out of the 12 criteria and are currently working to complete the final 3 sections. Although it is always rewarding to achieve an award, we are particularly inspired to use the FFL criteria to help us achieve some challenging goals and to deeply embed the ethos behind the FFL programme into the day to day running of our school.
During the last year we have continued to make improvements to the Dining Hall by changing the layout of the tables and seating creating a more relaxed atmosphere, investing in new tables and continuing to decrease queuing times.
Pupils from Reception enjoy their lunch in the Early Years classrooms and Rainbow Central providing them with the opportunity to eat in a quieter environment and to practice their table manners before being introduced to the Dining Hall towards the end of the summer term.
We continue to enjoy themed meals in the Dining Hall including National Roast Dinner Day, American and Italian Day and Christmas Dinner. To enhance the enjoyment of these special events the hall is decorated by the pupils, staff dress up and hats are made.
To help increase the amount of cooking that our pupils undertake, many of our Year 3 and 4 pupils have helped our kitchen staff to prepare salads, breads, pizzas and biscuits. Learning new practical skills in the school kitchen has been an empowering experience for our children especially when they see their fare served to the children in the Dining Hall.
To achieve our Gold FFL Award we will need to place more emphasis on linking cooking to support topic work. A good example of how we have achieved this is when Year 2 pupils learnt about The Great Fire of London through the words of a story teller enacting the experience of Thomas Farriner. The children heard how the fire started in the bakery owned by Thomas in Pudding Lane. They then learnt how to bake bread by watching a Paul Hollywood Master Class video. Pupils visited our school kitchen to see our own fresh bread proving and being cooked before baking their own bread in the kitchen ovens.
An important element of Gold FFL is forging strong links with local farms and food producers. To this end, we have thoroughly enjoyed lessons, workshops and visits to Harvest Organic Vegetable Shop in Red Lion Yard. Children have learnt how to make their own fruit smoothies and freshly squeezed apple juice as well as learning about seasonality, organic practices and local produce in the friendly atmosphere of Red Lion Yard. These sessions have also been linked to visits to West Town Farm, Ide. These farm visits have provided a delightful hands on farm experience for our pupils to ensure that they understand and appreciate locally sourced, seasonal and organic produce as well as learning where our food is produced.
Another particularly important part of FFL is to encourage as many pupils to have school dinners or school packed lunches. By working closely with our kitchen staff and Chartwells who provide our Gold FFL school menu, we endeavour to provide exciting menus that encourage our pupils to try new, wholesome, well balanced meal options. We take great care that our food is healthy, ethical, uses lots of local ingredients and is animal and climate friendly. We use a minimum of 15% organic and 5% free range ingredients in our menus.
We will continue to share new menu tasters with pupils and parents in the playground and at Parents’ Consultations so be sure to look out for details in newsletters as this is a great way to see what our school dinners taste like for yourself.