School serves up winning menu

AN Anston school looked to pupil power to inspire a new healthy dinner menu.

Monday, 23rd April 2012, 11:15 am

Pupils at Anston Greenland’s Junior and Infant School were set a culinary challenge to create a delicious and nutritious menu for the school chefs to rustle up at lunchtime. It was part of a wider initiative to increase school meal take-up and encourage healthy eating.

The year three class, known as Merlin’s class, were judged the winners and saw their meal of grilled chicken pasta with a tomato sauce served with vegetables of salad served to their fellow pupils.

The whole school took part in the competition, which followed on from a three-month improvement initiative by national charity the School Food Trust with Rotherham Council, as a way of continuing to increase school meal take-up.

Headteacher Anne Jones said: “We took part in Small Step Improvements because we wanted to find simple ways that would draw more pupils into the dining room for school meals and see more pupils choosing the healthy options.”

“The competition has been a fantastic way to involve the whole school and has provided an opportunity to listen to what our pupils actually want when it comes to lunchtime – it’s given them a voice to be heard. Pupils are showing a greater interest in school food and I can see it is helping to increase take-up.”

Mrs Jones added: “The pupils put a lot of thought into their entries, which made picking the winner a challenge in itself. Interestingly, many entries included a meal with grilled chicken, so we think the winning menu is going to go down very well, and not just with the pupils.”

Using a series of workshops, the Small Step Improvements programme aims to teach schools on how they can improve a number of different areas, including healthy meal take up, quality of their dining service and pupils’ behaviour at lunchtime.

Jayne Greatorex, the Small Step Improvement advisor said: “It’s wonderful to see Anston Greenland’s Junior and Infant School involving the whole school in developing their approach to providing healthy school meals in a fun and creative way.”