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Southwark schools set gold standard for healthy food for all pupils

12 July 2022

Southwark Council is proud to celebrate six schools who are leading the way to healthier, more nutritious food in all schools across the borough.

The schools are part of a joint programme to transform Southwark's school food system between the council and Impact on Urban Health (part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity). The four-year programme is worth £1.2m and supports schools to further improve the food given to pupils throughout the day, in terms of nutrition and value for money.

Under the programme, the six Food Flagship schools will share best practice with others in Southwark and showcase what a good food culture looks like. For example, Spa School Bermondsey is sharing how they support children with autism and sensory needs during the busy lunch service. Camelot Primary School is promoting more adventurous lunch menus. They encourage schools to swap out chips for more wholegrain foods and oily fish.

The programme will also tackle the local market for school meals, which is complex and fragmented like many other parts of the country. A more stable system will be established that helps create jobs for local residents. This will give schools more control over their catering contracts and the quality of their food.

Cllrs Ali and Akoto visited Albion Primary School as one of the Food Flagship schools. Year 3 gardening club took them on a tour and pupils presented them with Caribbean sweet bread they had made.

Karl Bardouille, Headteacher at Albion Primary School, said: “Albion Primary School is delighted to be recognised as a Food Flagship school for Southwark. We have worked hard to develop and embed healthy eating habits and lifestyles into the ethos of the school. We already have a thriving gardening club and forest school, and we are looking forward to welcoming chickens once again to our school in September. We want children to know where their food comes from and feel proud that they have created food by planting a seed.”

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Education, said: “We were one of the first councils to commit to free, healthy school meals for all primary children. Now we are working closely with schools and partners to raise the bar again by making school meals even healthier. I was delighted to celebrate our flagship schools and see for myself the fruits (and veggies) of their labour!”

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “As we saw from our visit to Albion Primary, school provides an ideal setting to encourage young people to eat well and learn about food. This not only helps protect their health, but also sets the foundations for improved behaviour and success with their studies. By transforming the school meal system in Southwark, we are ensuring every child has the best start in life.”

Rebecca Sunter, Childhood Obesity Programme Director at Impact on Urban Health, said: “All children deserve the opportunity to be healthy, no matter where they live or go to school. We know that access to enough, nutritious food at home and at school, supports children and young people to thrive.

“We’re partnering with Southwark Council and local schools on a long-term project to make sure that nutritious food takes centre stage in Southwark’s schools. At a time when local families are feeling the impact of the cost of living and rising food prices, the role of school food in supporting children to eat well and grow up healthy has never been more important.”

Among the Food Flagship schools, there is a strong mix of food catering models and education stages. They are:

  • St. Anthony’s Catholic Primary School 
  • Albion Primary School
  • Camelot Primary School
  • Spa School Bermondsey
  • Ark Walworth Academy
  • Harris Academy Peckham

Page last updated: 12 July 2022

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