School meals pilot serves up a treat for pupils

Pupils in St Catherine’s Primary School in Paisley have given a pilot school meals service the thumbs-up.

The school catering service has been revised following feedback from pupils, head teachers and parent councils to provide a modernised approach to school meals, with the new service piloted in six schools in Renfrewshire

The service has moved away from a traditional meal to a ‘Grab & Go’ and ‘Dine in Day’ service.

The ‘Grab & Go’ menu, offered four days a week, gives pupils three choices of two-course meal options – two hot meals and a third cold option. One day a week, a ‘Dine in Day’ restaurant-style service is provided with pupils selecting their own menu choices. A morning break service and pre-order system ensures a speedy service for pupils, and once a month there are themed menus.

The dining halls have also been rebranded to offer a more modern, fresh environment for children to eat and socialise in.

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said: “We are investing in the school catering service to deliver a modern service that meets the wishes of pupils and parents.

“Pupils also told us they wanted to be able to spend more time with their friends during breaks, so the ‘Grab & Go’ menu allows them to do this, with the service more efficient and faster than before.

“Pupils are also encouraged to ‘do your bit’ to recycle food packaging to contribute towards the schools eco committee and green flag status.”

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of the Education Policy Board, said: “Catering and teaching staff are working well together to deliver the pilot approach at St Catherine’s Primary.

“There has been an increase in both paid and free meal pupils now opting to have a school meal proving that the pupils are enjoying the new style of service and menu choices.”

Teresa Brown, head teacher of St Catherine’s Primary, said: “Everyone has been enjoying this new approach to school meals. The ‘Grab & Go’ menu makes time available to pupils to have their lunch and then be able to play during the break. Pupils are also able to vote for the ‘Dine in Day’ option from an extensive list of options and have it served to them at the table. One pupil said that the ‘Dine in Day’ was ‘Just like a dinner party.’”

The pilot will be evaluated by pupils and parents before the summer holidays.  The feedback will be used to refine and extend the service throughout primary schools across Renfrewshire.