School meals evoke a plethora of different memories for people. For some, it is the fond memories of a jam roly poly or spotted dick and custard for pudding, for others, it is the final sitting and having to make do with only tuna pasta bake or face an afternoon with a rumbling stomach! I do feel that the meals provided by our school caterers, Chartwells, are very impressive. We certainly enjoy having the services of their excellent Catering Manager, Richard Ward. Parents will get their chance to sample the quality of the meals as we look to host a Parents School Lunch at 2pm on one afternoon next term. The meal will be exactly the same as that served to the children.
As when I was at school, school dinners also receive a good deal of inevitable criticism and comment from pupils. Ask any teacher at QHS and they will tell you that the current food offers excellent value for money. However, that is not to say that things cannot be improved and the school does wish to address the issues raised by parents this term. This week, Mr Ward joined us for the meeting of the Senior Leadership Team as we look to resolve those issues.
In response to questions about portion sizes, Mr Ward emphasised that although the main item on the menu is always a government recommended portion size for protein for children of that age, there is no limit to the vegetables or salad on offer to the children. There is also a daily soup service and children can actually enjoy a daily three-course meal should they so wish. The school also provides fresh fruit in addition to the salad bar, sandwich bar and jacket potato servery.
There have been some recognised difficulties at the start of the school year with students arriving late for lunch and failing to receive the full range of meal options. This has often happened with lunchtime clubs finishing late. We have apologised when this has taken place and we have worked to rectify this situation. Mr Ward informed us that they kitchens are now cooking an increased number of portions in order to ensure that they provide a range of options for the final sitting. There is also a guarantee that the staff will always make arrangements to ensure that nobody goes without a lunchtime meal. This has been communicated to the students in a school assembly.
Devising the weekly menu is a challenging proposition for Mr Ward. We live in an age when large numbers of children appear allergic to various foodstuffs, enjoy a wide variety of different tastes, and where the government makes recommendations for what can be served that are comprehensive and detailed. The school is actively working to give the Food Committees a greater voice in the provision of school meals and Mr Ward has already adapted the menu to the demands of the children. Many will be pleased that tuna pasta bake has now disappeared from the servery! Maybe one day our children will yearn for the foods that they currently have on offer at QHS?
Published on: 11th October 2017