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School Food Standards: Resources for schools

Soft Drinks Levy

The Soft Drinks Industry Levy is a key part of the government’s childhood obesity strategy, and was first announced at Budget 2016. In England, the new levy revenue will be invested in giving school-aged children a brighter and healthier future, including programmes to encourage physical activity and balanced diets.

Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website.

School food plan

The government’s review of meals in England was published in July 2013. Key decisions coming out of the school food plan include:

  • Free school meals for infants
  • Increasing school meal take up
  • Breakfast clubs
  • Practical cooking will become compulsory for every pupil
  • Simplified school food standards
  • Headteachers being encouraged to take a lead on food in their schools
  • Award schemes
  • Training and development
  • School meals brand

Now that the Children’s Food Trust no longer exists, the British Dietetics Association host the Let’s Get Cooking webpages.

The School Food Plan website contains useful information including a head teachers’ checklist and other resources to schools in encouraging healthier eating.

For more information about Solihull Catering and school meals, please see the SMBC website.

Follow this link to find out more information about the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme  (SFVS).

The curriculum

Action 1 of the School Food Plan looked at putting cooking on the curriculum for key stages 1 to 3 and supporting teachers to deliver effective cookery lessons. Practical cookery and food education is now compulsory in the new national curriculum (link opens in a new tab or page) for pupils up to the end of key stage 3 (age 14), beginning in September 2014. The new national curriculum can be found by following the link below.

Useful links and websites:


Establishing School Food Policy Useful guidance from Public Health NI

Creating a lunchbox policy (PDF) (link opens in a new tab or page):

Teaching and learning

Eatwell plate (PDF) (link opens in a new tab or page)

The new Be Food Smart app from Change4Life helps you keep people keep an eye on what their family is eating and drinking. With a simple scan you’ll see how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is in a range of popular foods and drinks. There are also find hints and tips for healthier choices plus food detective activities for children and fun mini-missions for the whole family. The app can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.

The National Geographic Magazine website has a useful collection of resources for teaching about food and food related issues.

Beat (link opens in a new tab or page) provides helplines, online support and a network of UK-wide self-help groups to help adults and young people in the UK beat their eating disorders.

The British Heart Foundation (link opens in a new tab or page) are able to provide information, support and training programmes about heart conditions and heart health.

The Change 4 life (link opens in a new tab or page) website contains a range of tools and tips for encouraging healthy eating and increasing physical activity amongst children and their families.

FACE (link opens in a new tab or page) is a registered charity whose aim is to educate children and young people about food and farming in a sustainable countryside.

The Food in Schools (link opens in a new tab or page) primary training programme provides teachers with an excellent opportunity to enhance and develop their knowledge, skills and understanding about food and cooking in the primary curriculum.

It enables secondary food teachers to work with primary schools to provide an informative programme of professional development; the Food in Schools training focuses on practical solutions for the busy classroom.

Food – a fact of life (link opens in a new tab or page) provides a wealth of free resources about healthy eating, cooking, food and farming for children and young people aged 3 to 18 years.

The resources are progressive, stimulate learning and support the curriculum throughout the UK. All resources are designed to ensure that consistent and up-to-date messages are delivered

Grainchain (link opens in a new tab or page) is a curriculum linked education resource for teachers and parents to inform school-aged children about the story of grain-based food – from the farm to mill to plate. It contains tailored teaching materials, worksheets, videos, quizzes, recipes and activities about farming, milling and baking.

Organisations supporting sustainable food in schools