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Research Overview

CONNECTS-Food has been designed to support schools to adopt a whole school approach to food.

The CONNECTS Food resource has been developed by school stakeholders (headteachers, school staff, caterers, dieticians, parents and representatives from local authority and school food organisations) alongside academics from University of York, Queens University Belfast, Newcastle University, University of Bradford and the University of Leeds with the support of Public Health England and the Department for Education. This research is funding by the Medical Research Council.

What we did

Workshops with children

We talked to approximately 80 school children from 8 different primary schools (varied by location, rurality and the level of deprivation) to find out from them what influences what they eat across the school day, from waking up to going to bed.


This information was used to build a ‘journey map’, a picture of a typical day in the life of a primary school child from when they awoke in the morning to when they went to bed.


This helped us to identify opportunities which might influence what children eat. For example, we learnt that the school dining experience influenced whether children opted for packed or school lunch. We also found out about the influence of external factors, such as the child’s exposure to sweet shops and takeaways on their journey to and from school.

CONNECTS-Food has two key strands:

A website resource to offer practical support to schools

An advocacy workstream to engage policy makers to support whole school approaches to food

Tell us how we can improve this resource

This website resource is constantly evolving and will be updated regularly as new evidence and resources become available. If you have any feedback of how we can improve the site, please get in touch

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