Schools play a pivotal role in not only providing food for children, but supporting children and families in times of need.
Pastoral care within a whole school approach to food aims to support vulnerable families to access high quality foods (e.g., through free school meal provision) and identify and support families through food issues such as failing to thrive, eating disorders, or obesity.
Fully embedding pastoral support within whole school approaches to food can bring people together through food in order to build social cohesion that benefits the school, children, their families and the wider community.
Our system's map shows that pastoral care policy and initiatives within a whole school approach to food is largely influenced by the priorities of headteachers, teachers and lunch time staff and has the potential to bring benefits to children and the whole family.
See our recommendations below on how to develop pastoral support within your school to support a whole school approach to food.
What you can do in your school
The cost and impact of each action was informed by an evidence based approach to estimates and the feedback of school stakeholders
Low: our stakeholders estimate this will have low financial cost
Medium: our stakeholders estimate this will incur some financial cost or time commitment
High: our stakeholders estimate this would require some financial investment
Low: our research tells us this recommendation would achieve the greatest impact if combined with other activities
Medium: our research tells us this recommendation is likely to support achievement of a whole school approach to food
High: our research tells us this recommendation will make a significant contribution to a whole school approach to food.
Use food events as a way to bring families and local community together to build social cohesion e.g., religious festivals, school lunch events
Provide staff training on eating behaviours of concern and how to approach parents if needed
Consider ways to make free school meals and paid school lunches indistinguishable from each other
Roll out of universal free school meals in Scotland and Wales
Consider applying for funding support to ensure that children are not starting school hungry