February 2013

The know zone

  • Warning signs
    The case of a BNP councillor who took his claim against unfair dismissal to the European Court of Human Rights is a warning to schools and colleges, says Richard Bird. More
  • Toil and trouble
    Changes to local and national funding formulae could be a recipe for a whole cauldron of bother, says Sam Ellis. More
  • Lead vocals
    Quotes from Judy Garland, Kongzi, Ezra Pound, Felix Cohen and Thomas Fuller More
  • Home ground
    After 20 years away, Mark Stanyer returned to the school where he began his teaching career and is now principal of Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy in Stoke-on-Trent. More
  • Nourishing minds
    The Food for Life Partnership (FFLP) is revolutionising school meals by reconnecting young people with farms and inspiring them to grow food and cook. More
  • Keeping pedagogy on track
    Despite being in the midst of one of the most challenging periods in education Brian Lightman explains why he believes there are strong grounds for optimism in 2013. More
  • Adding value
    In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced two changes that will hit high earners, people seeking to boost their pension provision, and public sector workers who benefit from generous employer contributions. More
  • Quantitative easing
    Do you believe changes announced to the teachers’ pay structure will be beneficial or detrimental? Here, leaders share their views. More
  • Plantastic voyage
    Nothing solves a problem quite like a carefully constructed, conscientiously costed action plan. Just make sure that everyone has the correctly coloured stationery. More
  • Leaders' Surgery
    The antidote to common leadership conundrums... More
  • Financial times...
    With changes to pensions announced in the Autumn Statement and proposals to change teachers’ pay published only days before ASCL Council met in December, it was no surprise that pay and conditions were high on the agenda. More
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Nourishing minds

The Food for Life Partnership (FFLP) is revolutionising school meals by reconnecting young people with farms and inspiring them to grow food and cook.

What is the Food for Life Partnership?
The FFLP is a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture. Schools work together with caterers, parents and pupils to improve their school meals and lunchtime experience. They also provide growing and cooking education and farm visits to help reconnect children with their food. Schools invite parents and members of the wider community to participate in food and growing activities to extend the benefits of the project beyond the school gates and into the home.

Do schools have to follow a programme?
Yes – the Food for Life Partnership awards achievement at three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. For each award, there is a set of criteria that help form an action framework for each school. The criteria are centred on four areas of development: food leadership; food quality and provenance; food education; and food culture and community involvement. The programme can link food, cooking and growing into many aspects of the curriculum, including literacy, numeracy, geography, science and personal, social and health education (PSHE).

Has the partnership been successful?
FFLP has been highly effective in addressing inequalities and has proven to increase uptake of free school meals (FSM). Independent evaluation showed that FSM take-up increased by an average of 20 per cent in FFLP secondary schools. Every element of the programme supports an increase in school meal and FSM take-up; for example, the food served at lunchtime is healthy, fresh and nutritious for pupils – who contribute and actively give feedback on the food they are served. By using pupil feedback, the dining experience is improved to provide a calm, sociable and integrated environment. Schools even invite parents into schools to try new menus and eat with pupils so they are better informed. 

Are any other partners involved?
The FFLP is led by the Soil Association, working with partners Focus on Food, Garden Organic and the Health Education Trust. The Soil Association is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable land use, farming and food. One of its key strategic aims is ‘Good Food for All’ – making sure everyone has access to food that is healthy for them and the planet.

How can schools get involved?

All secondary and primary schools in the UK can enrol free of charge onto the programme. Libby Grundy, director for the Food for Life Partnership, says, “We would encourage any school considering making improvements to their school food to enrol with the Food for Life Partnership. The scheme has been designed to help schools achieve positive, sustainable changes in partnership with their caterers. It is proven to positively impact on health, education and local economies, helping to close the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.”

Are there any resources available for schools?
FFLP provides a wealth of online resources including practical guidance to support the award criteria, teaching resources and case studies. The programme also has a dedicated award coordinator who is able to provide advice to individual schools over the telephone. If your school is in one of FFLP’s commissioned areas and meets specified criteria in that area, there may be further support available in the form of teacher training and a local programme manager.

Find out more

For further information, to find out whether your school is in an FFLP commissioned area or to enrol your school, please visit www.foodforlife.org.uk or call 0117 314 5180.

nourishing minds