A whole school approach to food includes ensuring that messages about food are consistent and embedded across the whole school day.
This can be supported by implementing policies that compliment a healthy food culture, including healthy packed lunch policies and non-food rewards.
We know that the implementation of policies can be hard to monitor and may receive pushback from parents and children, but involving them in the decision making around policies, could make them be more likely to succeed.
Our systems map shows that policy and culture within a school is influenced by a variety of factors, including Ofsted requirements, the priority of headteachers and senior leaders regarding food and parental attitudes. Introducing policies that support a whole school approach to food, has the potential to influence the whole of the school food culture, with knock-on effects on to child food preferences, peer and social norms, and may have wider benefits to the family if key messages are mirrored at home.
See our recommendations tips below on how to make changes to your school’s policy and culture that can 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.
Consider introducing policies on: non-food rewards, uniform free day on birthdays, dessert free lunches, healthy celebration foods and removal of ‘chip fridays’ etc.
Take part in national initiatives such as ‘5 a day’ or ‘health week’, or reward initiatives such as ‘food for life’ or ‘eco-schools’ ensuring that the whole school is involved
Ensure that messages about food are consistent across the day (e.g. ensuring lessons about healthy eating are not overshadowed by rewards with sweets)