Adopt a School joins 30 food charities and children's organisations call for Healthy Schools Rating Scheme

Publish Date: March 20, 2019 Posted By: Alys Bannister

Over 30 organisations including Adopt a School, Soil Association Food for Life, and Children's Food Campaign along with Jamie Oliver and School Food Matters are calling on the Department for Education to act on its promise to prioritise children’s health and well-being and ensure schools deliver healthy meals and food education.

Today over 30 organisations, including Adopt a School, were led by school food charity School Food Matters, to call on the Department for Education to act on its promise to prioritise children’s health and well-being by taking a look at how schools can support children to keep themselves healthy through a Healthy Schools Rating Scheme.

Schools are required to deliver high quality school meals and food education, and despite the Department for Education's promise to introduce a  Healthy Schools Rating Scheme in the 2016 Childhood Obesity Plan (repeated again in Chapter Two in June 2018) the scheme remains on DfE’s ‘to do’ list. In response, Adopt a School is supporting School Food Matters to push government to deliver on its promise to support schools in monitoring and managing healthy, quality school meals in line with mandatory School Food Standards, and food education, which is part of the curriculum.

The proposed Healthy Schools Rating Scheme, monitored by Ofsted, would be used as a tool to celebrate schools' successes and help those that need more support when it comes to school meals, Food Standards, and Food Education. With recognition created through the scheme, schools would be better-equipped to communicate how they support children's health and well-being, and give parents the confidence that their school prioritises healthy eating and food education.

In a survey of almost 1000 parents, governors and teachers as part of the campaign, 97% were in favour of the introduction of a Healthy School Ratings Scheme, and 85% thought it should be mandatory so that all parents with children in state-funded schools.  When asked whether healthy school ratings should formally be monitored by Ofsted, 72% all respondents agreed, and 76% of those who are parents.

A primary school parent says:

"I would consider such as scheme a basic requirement in this obseogenic environment. We need to instil in our schools the fundamental importance of healthy eating. There would be less absenteeism through sickness, better concentration in class and therefore optimising the teaching time and benefits to children's learning. Short term investment in training and delivery, for long term (lifelong) gains."

Barbara Crowther, co-ordinator of the Children's Food Campaign (a fellow supporter) says:

"We currently have School Food Standards for healthy school meals, and food education as part of the curriculum, but parents have no way of knowing how well their own schools are performing in delivering these, because no-one is monitoring. This survey gives Government a powerful mandate to introduce a proper Healthy Schools Ratings Scheme for all state-funded schools, and to give Ofsted responsibility for monitoring and reporting how schools are doing."

Stephanie Wood of School Food Matters says:

“With children spending 190 days at school we have a unique opportunity to model good eating habits and teach them how to keep themselves healthy. Department for Education must act now and use the Healthy Schools Rating Scheme, together with the new Ofsted framework, to make sure we’re making the most of this opportunity."

 

For more information:

Read the report: Healthy Schools Ratings Scheme: A New Measure of Success

Organisations supporting the call are: Action on Salt, Action on Sugar,  Alexandra Rose Charity Business Services Association,  Cavill Associates, Charlton Manor Primary School, Children’s Food Campaign, Clifton Green Primary School, Edible Playgrounds, Enfield Council, Federation of Wholesale Distributors, First Steps Nutrition, Food Active, Food for Life, Food Foundation, Garden Organic, Greenfields Community School, HENRY, Jamie Oliver, LACA, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Magic Breakfast, Mayor of London, Newland St John’s CE Academy,  Public Health Nutrition Research, Phunky Foods,  Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Adopt a School Trust, School Food Plan Alliance Sugar Smart, Sustain, The Actives Team, The Hyperactive Children’s Support Group UCL, University of Sheffield, Washingborough Academy, Youth Sport Trust.