Primary schools in the upper Calder Valley are being urged to make sure they register for funding which will allow them to give every reception class, Year one and Year two pupil a free school meal, regardless of income.
Government money is being made available through the Children’s Food Trust for the School Food Plan, a national scheme starting in the new school year in September aimed at ensuring young children get a nutritious meal each school day.
The trust has always been supported by the Incredible Edible movement, and Incredible Edible Todmorden, through its Aqua Garden based at Todmorden High School will also have a role to play when a later batch of funding comes through, says Pam Warhurst of IE/IET.
“It’s brilliant that we are now starting to understand the importance of giving all our children a good meal at school.
“We are starting with free school meals for reception class and Years one and two and that’s good news not only for children and families but also local food producers who will be involved.
“It’s top quality food and money is going back into local areas.
“With so much on schools’ minds, some primary schools haven’t applied to the money they are entitled to yet so we are asking all of them to make sure they are lined up for the money to actually buy the food that the children can eat,” she said.
Pam said the Government has made available between £100 and £200 per child to do this and schools should log on to the Children’s Food Trust website - www.childrensfoodtrust.org.uk - for full details.
More funding was set to be made available later which would help guide school meals staff and others on cooking the food for maximum benefit to the children.
Incredible Edible Todmorden’s Aqua Garden is already providing some ideas as to how school meals staff can be supported, for example on sourcing local produce. The possibility of establishing cooking schools is also being explored.
The Incredible Aqua garden, a £544,785 National Lottery funded social enterprise launched last November, supported by its partner Todmorden High School, is in a unique position to help schools implement the School Food Plan, said learning and development manager Aine Douglas.
“From September schools have to really focus on what they are offering their children to eat. Dining halls will have to be welcoming with better, nutritious food on offer and staff eating with the pupils in a friendlier area,” she said.
“Here we not only consider food a topic in its own right but work with teachers to find out how an educational visit to the Aqua Garden can consolidate the learning they have been doing across a range of subjects.”