School food provision

Food provision is an important part of ensuring the food that children eat during the school day collectively complies with the school food standards.

The standards set out the requirements for food and drink served at school lunch and other times, provided to pupils on and off school premises up to 6pm. This includes breakfast clubs, tuck shops, mid-morning break, vending machines, after-school clubs and school trips for at least seven days. There are separate National Minimum Standards for residential special schools.

Meeting the school food standards

It is the statutory responsibility of the governing body and trustees to ensure the school food standards are being met. Guidance for governors is available from the Department for Education (DfE). Part of the healthy schools criteria is compliance with the above standards and ensuring the school has the following policies in place:

The school food plan

The school food plan offers a variety of information on how to provide healthy school meals including resources for school cooks.

Checklists are also available. They can be used to check if food provision across the school day (breakfast, snack, lunch and afterschool provision) complies with the school food standards. These include:

Council central school meal contract

Harrison Catering Services Ltd. is the current school meal provider for Wandsworth schools that have chosen to be part of the central contract. The contractor started provision in September 2023 and is working with the council towards implementing aspirations outlined in the school food strategy.

Parents whose children have allergies, and attend a school which is in the contract, are asked to complete a food allergy and food intolerance form that should be submitted directly to their school office. To find out more please speak to your child’s school.

Other useful school food resources

The following resources can also help schools to plan healthy food provision that meets the standards:

  • What works well, recipe hub for school dinners 
  • For those who receive packed lunches from home, the healthy lunchbox provides information that might be helpful to schools and parents
  • Chefs in schools is a charity that trains school kitchen teams to serve up clean, healthy, inexpensive and nutritious food
  • School Food Matters is a charity campaigning for better assess to sustainable healthy food during school time and quality food education. They provide fully funded food education programmes to schools

Breakfast and after school clubs

If your school is considering setting up or reinvigorating a breakfast club, these resources can support you:

School Food Matters also provides an afterschool club guide. It offers tips on how to improve after school food provision.

Similarly, the Children's Food Trust has developed after school club recipes and tips.

Magic Breakfast is a charity that supports schools and campaigns to end hunger as a barrier to education. A recent study revealed the importance of breakfast to health and educational attainment in 4 to 18 year olds. This academic year 2023-2024, we partnered with Magic Breakfast and invited 20 schools to take part in the pilot that provides a breakfast provision tailored to their school needs. The initiative is part of a wider work to tackle food insecurity.

Water only schools

These are schools that offers only water and milk during the school day. This is inclusive of breakfast, and after school food provision. For more information, view the water only tool kits for primary and secondary schools.

Milk in schools

All schools should offer milk to their pupils once per day during the school hours. Those under the age of five and benefit-based free school meal pupils should receive free milk during the school day. Schools may use the dedicated schools grant to fund the provision of milk for eligible pupils. Charges can be made for all other pupils and parents can buy into a milk scheme the school is participating in for example, Cool Milk

For more information about milk, visit: