School Meals Charter


 

School Meals Charter 

Purpose

 This charter/policy seeks to establish the key objectives of all stakeholders in the School Meals Service; to provide a collaborative approach in the strategic direction and development of the service. The charter/policy determines the stakeholders’ roles and accountability in the management and delivery of school meals including legislative responsibilities for the national food based and nutritional standards.

The document has been developed in consultation with stakeholder representatives who have given a commitment to work together to achieve agreed outcomes for the benefit of all Knowsley pupils.

Customer Service Promise

Knowsley’s School Meals Service is committed to providing a high quality service to all our customers by:

  • Listening to, engaging with, and responding to our customers’ needs.
  • Providing high quality, nutritious refreshments and meals which offer choice to pupils. To comply with the Government’s food based and nutritional standards, to use fresh ingredients wherever possible.
  • Ensuring the dining room environment encourages the enjoyment of food and social interaction amongst young peoples.
  • Catering for all special medical and ethnic dietary needs on request.
  • Sourcing local produce where possible in a manner which promotes environmental sustainability and Fairtrade principles.

Key Objectives

3.1 Food Safety Statement

Knowsley School Meals Service recognises the importance of food safety in its operations. As part of its statutory responsibilities the service’s operational processes and service delivery arrangements are based on the legislative requirements within the following;

  • Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations
  • Food Labelling Regulations
  • Food Safety Act
  • The Education (Nutritional Standard and Requirements for School Food) (England) Regulations
  • Food Hygiene (England) Regulations
  • All current Health and Safety Legislation

On-site Chef Supervisors will manage, control and undertake checks on a daily basis for all deliveries including temperature probing and correct storage of food. Food Safety Data Sheets will be completed and records stored for all food produce and associated food preparation operations.  All  staff who are involved in food  control procedures are fully  trained and have access to guidance within the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) principles as set out it he service’s ISO 9001 operating manuals.

The School Meals Service ensures that all food products and meal recipes do not contain genetically modified ingredients or chemical dyes. A full list of banned additives is shown as Appendix A.

Quality Standards

Knowsley School Meals Service recognises that quality of service is of paramount importance to the customer and is committed to ensuring that all customers receive the highest levels of quality service standards. Which are externally assessed by ISOQAR certified ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System.  All catering staff involved in the provision of the School Meals Service are required to comply with ISO 9001 Quality Management System procedures.

Knowsley School Meals Service supports and promotes healthy eating, and as such ensures that the food products used to produce meals are locally sourced and freshly prepared on site. All fresh meat used in the service is quality assured within the EBLEX Quality Mark Scheme; which certifies that food has been produced to independently inspected standards right across the food chain, from farm to pack.

Knowsley School Meals Service participates in the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, which provides information on food hygiene standards for many food businesses in the Borough. Participating in this scheme means that the kitchens in the School Meals Service are part of a national scheme run by local authorities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in partnership with the Food Standard Agency.  Each business is given a hygiene rating when inspected by a food safety officer, they look at:

  • How hygienically the food is prepared, cooked, cooled and stored
  • The condition of the structure of the building
  • How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.

Premises receive one of the following ratings:

Rating Standard of Premises
5 Very good
4 Good
3 Generally satisfactory
2 Improvement necessary
1 Major improvement necessary
0 Urgent improvement necessary

The School Meals Service aims for all kitchens to achieve a rating of at least 4.

The service’s Contract Managers undertake regular quality checks in each kitchen, to ensure that all catering staff are operating in accordance with agreed service standards, Safe Systems of Work and Site Safety procedures.

Consultation is sought from pupils, parents and school staff on the quality of food, service and price via surveys, food tasting sessions and menu planning. Feedback and information gained is used to inform future menus and service arrangements.

The Service also participates in an annual Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) Performance Survey, which includes a benchmarking exercise with other catering services throughout the UK. This allows the service to undertake an annual benchmarking exercise which provides comparisons with other catering providers and enables the service to identify areas for performance improvements and cost comparisons to ensure that the service is delivering a high quality, value for money service.

School Lunch Policy

Healthy Lunch Box

Packed lunches are provided by parents and as such there are no formal mechanisms for establishing whether they meet the government’s nutritional standards to ensure all young people are receiving a healthy, nutritious school lunch. Details below are provided as guidance to aid parents in preparing a healthy packed lunch, to ensure that their children are eating a nutritionally balanced, healthy lunchtime meal. This should be communicated and promoted to parents by the school.

Packed lunches should include:

  • At least one portion of fruit and one portion of vegetables every day
  • Meat, fish or other source of non-dairy protein (e.g. lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, hummus, peanut butter and falafel) every day
  • Oily fish, such as salmon, at least once every three weeks
  • A starchy food such as any type of bread, pasta, rice couscous, noodles, potatoes or other type of cereals every day
  • Dairy food such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais or custard everyday
  • Only water, still or sparkling, fruit juice, semi skimmed or skimmed milk, yoghurt or milk drinks and smoothies.

Packed lunches should not include:

  • Snacks such as crisps. Instead, include nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit (with no added salt, sugar or fat). Savoury crackers or breadsticks served with fruit or vegetables or dairy food are also a good choice.
  • Confectionary such as chocolate bars, chocolate-coated biscuits and sweets. Cakes and biscuits are allowed but encourage your child to eat these only as part of a balanced meal.
  • Meat products such as sausage rolls, individual pies, corned meat and sausages/ chipolatas should be included only occasionally.

Stay on Site Policy

Schools are encouraged to adopt a stay on site policy to prevent pupils leaving the site at lunchtime and buying their lunch at fast food and takeaway outlets. Pupils should be encouraged to eat either a nutritiously balanced, healthy school meal, or bring a packed lunch which will be governed by the guidance above.

Vending/Tuck Shop Policy

School Governing Bodies should restrict the sales of snack and vending machines/ tuck shop products to ensure that all schools are complying with the nutritional guidelines set out in The Education (Nutritional Standard and Requirements for School Food) (England) Regulations 2007.

Free School Meals

School meals are free for children if their parent or guardian receive:

  • Income support.
  • Income-based jobseekers Allowance.
  • An income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Child Tax Credit and have an annual income of £16,190 or less.
  • The guarantee element of State Pension Credit.
  • Support under part V1 of the immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Children are not entitled to free school meals if their parent or guardian receives Working Tax Credit.

Information on free school meals is available for parents or guardians via 0151 443 4042 or www.knowsley.gov.uk for more details

If circumstances change, and parents are no longer receiving the above benefits, they would need to notify the school and the Benefits Department of any changes.

Pupils entitled to a free school meal will have their allowance credited to their account on a daily basis; any unused credits cannot be rolled over on to the next day’s allowance. Secondary pupil’s accounts will be credited after the morning break so credit can only be spent at lunchtime.

Menus and Pricing

Menu

The School Meals Service offers a multi choice menu which provides a wide range of food and drinks options. In primary schools, pupils are offered a choice of two hot meals or a lighter option, such as a sandwich or jacket potato, with a choice of dessert/fresh fruit and a drink of water, milk or fruit juice. A free salad bar and bread are available for all pupils staying for a school meal. Pupils in the secondary sector are offered an extensive range of healthy breakfast and snack options; and a minimum of two main course options and dessert choices for lunch together with a drink within the main catering/dining area. Pupils will also have the option of purchasing their meals via the ‘Food-to-Go’ areas within the Centres for Learning, allowing the purchase of hot and cold meals over break and lunch times.

The menus are changed twice a year to reflect seasonal food products and are designed in consultation with the Chef Supervisors based on feedback from pupils and reflective of local choices. The menu choices are nutritionally balanced within the national food guidelines (Education Nutritional Standard and Requirements for School Food (England) Regulations 2007) and food provisions cost targets. The menus are provided on a three-weekly cycle basis which also includes meal recipes and portion controls, to ensure consistency in service quality and costs.

The School Meals Service aims to promote ‘healthy lifestyle’ patterns to encourage young people to choice food from the key nutritional food groups.

Price

Prices will be suggested by the Schools Forum at reasonable levels to promote the take up of School Meals, and these will be benchmarked against other Local Authorities in the Merseyside / North West region. Governing bodies have the power to determine meals prices but are required to have regard to the Charter including the pricing levels proposed by the Schools Forum.

The price of a school meal is critical to the accessibility and affordability of a healthy lunchtime meal for Knowsley pupils. The price of a meal is calculated by the Council in consultation with school representatives in the Formula Review Group, who seek approval and endorsement of any price changes via the Schools Forum within each new academic year.

The School Meals Service endeavours to maintain the price of a meal to an accessible and affordable level, ensuring value for money and high quality by managing supplier costs, maximising use of all resources and subsidising the meal costs with other catering sales income.

Payment Methods

Primary and Special Schools

Payment methods are based on a combination of cash or cheques received by the schools administrative office. Payments must be made on weekly basis to encourage parents/carers to allow their children to take up a school meal. Income received is collated and banked via a cash collection system with G4S each week.

Secondary Sector

A cashless system exists in all of the centres for learning; the system will be enhanced to a biometric system to enable pupils to access the system using their finger’s image on a biometric reader which translates this into a short numeric code, not a finger print image.

The School Meals Service will explore other payment methods including direct debit and on-line payments to reduce the administrative burden and enable parents to use whichever payment mechanism they prefer. This may include incentives to encourage parents to take up on-line payments methods.

Ethnic and Special Diets and Allergies

The School Meals Service will cater for all special dietary requirements, including medical and ethnic dietary needs on request. Parents with children who have special dietary needs should contact their school to let them know of their child’s individual needs. This information will then be recorded and provide to the on-site Chef Supervisor who will ensure that the child’s dietary needs are accommodated as far as practically possible from the current menu. All catering staff will be made aware of any special dietary needs when preparing and serving the food. Medical confirmation may be required in some circumstances.

3.8 Healthy Eating Policy

Knowsley Schools and the School Meals Service, will seek to work together to ensure that all Knowsley pupils have access to a healthy, well-balanced meal during the school day. To ensure that all aspects of food and drink in schools promote the health and well-being of pupils, staff and visitors to the school to enhance their learning potential. To recognise and acknowledge the importance of school meals in tackling childhood obesity, educational attainment and behaviour/concentration levels and with a commitment to provide a well-balanced nutritional lunch to all pupils.

Schools will work in conjunction with the Schools Meals Service to provide:

  • Healthy eating days and themed menus
  • Provision of drinking water
  • Healthy eating as part of the curriculum, supported by the catering staff

Service Delivery Arrangements

This section of the document sets out the operational and management responsibilities of both the School Meals Service, and the Schools who buy into the service level agreement (SLA).

School Meals Service responsibilities:

      • Ensure all staff have an enhanced Disclosure Barring Service (DBS replaced CRB) criminal records check
      • Manage all aspects of catering staff management including recruitment, sickness cover and all staff training
      • Manage all aspects of purchasing, food delivery, storage, preparation and handling of food
      • Catering staff will work collaboratively with school staff including lunchtime supervisors, encouraging and supporting pupils to demonstrate good behaviour and social interaction
      • Ensure kitchen equipment is properly maintained, including cleaning, repairs and any like-for-like replacements. All equipment in the kitchen is the property of the School Meals Service
      • Provide a menu choice which meets the Government’s Food Based and Nutritional Standards
      • Continually develop the School Meals Service and implement an effective marketing plan and activities to improve the profile of the service
      • Arrange all required staff liability insurance, using appropriate insurance policies
      • Arranging for a banking collection service provided for all schools
      • To monitor and manage service standards to encourage increases in meal take up and to maintain high quality service standards with clear performance targets

School responsibilities:

    • Schools should make the School Meals Service available to pupils on a daily, weekly or termly basis
    • Allow free use of the necessary premises for the supply of catering service
    • Allow reasonable free use of all forms of energy and services require to deliver the school meals service
    • Provide a clean, social environment for children to eat and enjoy their lunch, supported by lunchtime supervisors during meal times to encourage good behaviour and social interaction
    • Schools are responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and repairs in respect of all elements of the kitchen building and other items for which the delegated building maintenance budget applies
    • Schools are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of fire fighting equipment in the kitchen.
    • Schools will be responsible for remedying any pest infestation arising in the kitchen area
    • Schools will be responsible for notifying the School Chef Supervisor before 10.00am, of the number of pupils requiring lunch and their individual choices to aid the service delivery
    • Schools will be responsible for collecting meal income from pupils and preparing it for banking
    • Schools will be responsible for implementing the Bad Debts procedure where appropriate
    • Schools will provide adequate midday supervision to ensure appropriate pupil behaviour is maintained in accordance with school policy
    • School Governing Bodies would need to take consideration of the Charter if they were to take the service in-house’ or seek another service provider.

Working in Partnership

The Charter/Policy seeks to establish a collaborative working partnership between schools, School Meals Service, parents and pupils and other   stakeholders.  The document is jointly owned and managed by all             stakeholders to ensure that healthy eating is at the heart of all aspects of the Charter.

Appendix A

Prohibited Food Additives

Colourings

E102 Tartrazine E104 Quinoline Yellow E107 Yellow 2G E128 Red 2G
E110 Sunset Yellow E120 Cochineal E122 Carmosine E131 Patent Blue
E123 Amaranth E124 Ponceau E127 Erythrosine E132 Indigo Carmine
E133 Brilliant Blue E151 Black PN E154 Brown FK E155 Brown HT E160b Annatto

Preservatives

E210-219 Benzoates E220-227 Sulphites E250 Sodium Nitrite E251 Sodium Nitrate

Antioxidants

E320 Butylated Hydroxyanisole E321 Butylated Hydroxyanisole