Catering support service

Meals that meet school food standards are appealing to young people and offer a healthy choice

The NPW Client Catering Support Team act on behalf of a school to maintain and improve the quality of services offered by the catering service provider and ensure that the Government Food Based Standards are achieved at all times.

Monitoring the performance of the catering provider by carrying out audit inspection visits

A NPW Catering Development Officer will visit once a year to audit the following:

Enjoying a healthy school meal

  • Food presentation and service against contract specifications (including queuing arrangements and dining hall management)
  • Menu planning specification against actual menu and food on offer
  • Food hygiene and health and safety matters
  • Food production methods
  • Receipt and storage of goods
  • Monitoring special dietary needs
  • Marketing and pricing

A detailed monitoring report is produced and sent to the school with key actions and advice for the catering provider. Recommendations, based on observation and pupil and staff feedback, will also be made on how to improve the service e.g. to increase the speed of service, increase take-up of meals etc.

If the catering service falls below the standard required then additional inspections will take place alongside meetings with the catering provider to ensure improvement is sustained. Schools are kept aware of progress in resolving issues.

Complaints about school food and other catering issues

NPW will deal with complaints from schools, parents/carers or pupils. A written investigation report will be sent to the school and complainant (if applicable). Direct liaison is undertaken with the catering contractor to ensure the issues are resolved and the best possible catering service is achieved.

A complaints log is kept to determine trends, produce statistics and establish ways to improve catering service provision which is shared with schools and catering service providers as appropriate.

School food improvement strategies

  • Satisfaction surveys to all users, including parents/carers, will be circulated when appropriate.
  • Parent/carer taster events can be arranged and views can be sought at these events. Results will be analysed and a summary consultation document produced.
  • School Council meetings/School nutrition action groups can be arranged to review school food and engage with pupils developing joint strategies with key stakeholders to address concerns.

School food advice

  • Advice is offered regarding halal meals and other religious requirements to ensure school meals are suitable for all pupils.
  • Practical support can be given on setting up breakfast clubs, mid-morning breaks, fruit and other tuck shops and catering at after-school clubs. Advice is also given on marketing school meals and merchandising.

Specialist advice on kitchen and dining facilities

  • Design, layout and procurement specialist advice on catering and ‘front of house’ equipment.
  • Identifying any maintenance requirements in the kitchen/dining facilities and advising the school, local authority and caterers accordingly.
  • Provide specialist advice on dining furniture regarding design styles, layouts and providing flexible arrangements.

Additional Service

  • Assisting with the tendering process for the school meals service. (additional charges may apply).

Midday staff development

  • Schools can purchase training and development and other support to develop the role of midday staff at additional cost. The training and support offered will promote positive lunchtime behaviour and encourage healthier eating.