In the last six months we have been carefully reviewing the procedures in school surrounding the booking, organisation and management of school dinners. As part of the review process we asked the Local Authority school meals adviser to look at our provision and make some suggestions. The main observations of this review were:
- As a school we have a very high level of dinner money debt (at any given time approximately £400.00).
Our records show a very high level of wastage.
Sometimes children miss out on meals/dishes that they really want usually because it is popular and has been chosen by children in an earlier sitting.
In order to try and address these issues we are proposing to trial a new ordering procedure. We have based this system on one used by a number of other Essex Schools, recommended to us by the Local Authority.
The system will enable children to book EXACTLY what they want (through parents/carers) safe in the knowledge that their chosen meals will be waiting for them at school. Some of the surveys we received showed that one of the worst things (from a child’s perspective) is booking your favourite dish only to discover that by the time you are called in for your dinner it’s all gone! The new system will hopefully prevent this in the future. The basic principles of the new system are as follows:
Meals must be ordered on a three-week cycle. A three-week menu and menu return sheet will come home on one A3 sheet – please cut off and complete the menu return form (tick the coloured box) and send it into school. Your meals will then be ordered in advance.
To avoid the build up of debts we would appreciate a weekly payment at the beginning of each school week.
We can take orders on the day, but if you do this it is important to understand that availability will be very limited.
We will be starting this new system on Monday 12th June. Therefore, please could you ensure that your new menu is returned to school by Wednesday 7th June; this enables us to place orders ready for the following week.
The other advantage of this system is that you will be able to control and monitor exactly what your children will be eating; we feel it is important for you to have more input into your child’s food and these changes will certainly enable you to have more choice and control.
If you have any thoughts on this new trial system, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org – we want our new systems to work for both home and school. There may be some teething problems but we will do our best to listen to any suggestions/ideas that you may have. I will be available before school (in the outdoor classroom) on Tuesday 6th June to answer any questions regarding this trial.