our manifesto

a manifesto for a better future in school food

Food fuels us, we all know this, but when it comes to school food we can sometimes forget it – but no more. We’re urging politicians to commit to the three asks in our manifesto. Only then can our society utilise the superpower of school food to its full potential. Help us win them round: read, download and share our manifesto now.


our manifesto


The Benefits of Change: One Month in – Parkwood Primary school

At Parkwood, in Hackney, the school recognised the importance of investing in their kitchen team and signed up for training. 

Head teacher Paul Thomas says: “Each class would line up with their plastic trays, boys would sit together, girls would sit together and it wasn’t developing a sense of family, which is something we wanted at the school. 

“Some days we had more food waste than others, the dining hall could be louder as well, it seemed important to invest in our kitchen team and ensure we developed their skills so they could serve the best possible food to children.”

The school had worked hard creating a good food culture and decided the next step was some training for the kitchen team, they contacted our charity for help and saw the benefits soon after:

“A month in and already the team was more confident. Parents were enthusiastic. We were hearing that children would go home and talk about what they’ve eaten, what they tried and what they liked.”

“Lunch is a key part of the day. If you don’t get it right, half the day will be affected and there’s the long-term impact as well.”

The Benefits of Change Long Term: Woodmansterne School

We know that when schools make these changes, better is possible, we’ve seen it happen time and time again. At Woodmansterne School in South London, they’re proving that when we imagine more for the next generation, we can realise it:

At Woodmansterne, everything is prepared from scratch. Fruit and vegetables are sourced from local suppliers. Children are  exposed to new flavours and textures through a salad bar that changes with the seasons. Dishes are often familiar to children – pastas, curries – but elevated. If the chefs are preparing a curry they will make their own naans, chutneys and raitas. Fish and chips might be accompanied by pickles and freshly made beetroot ketchup.

Chefs talk to the kids about the food, answer their questions and listen to their feedback. Staff sit down and eat meals alongside the students. Food is also incorporated into the curriculum at every opportunity.

Headteacher Samantha Palin believes the good food culture Woodmansterne has nurtured over recent years has had a positive effect.

“Attainment data at primary level has been significantly above the national average. That’s never down to just one thing but I’d love to think it’s in part due to the food.”

“When we lost access to our school field for a time and the children were having to play in quite a restricted space, you’d have expected to see a spike in accidents and fights because of that constrained space but we didn’t see that. I think that was directly impacted by the positive atmosphere and environment in the school lunch hall, but also because the children are not being fed with lots of sugar and ‘E-numbers’.”

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Get in Touch

If you’re interested in learning more about our work, get in touch at hello@chefsinschools.org.uk