News Children's Food Campaign

Education leaders call for a full "post-Covid reset" of school food and invite public to share evidence.

Dr Nick Capstick OBE has been appointed as chair of a new school food review working group, bringing together educational leaders, food organisations and child poverty organisations to tackle food access, inequality and health in the nation's school system, with a new public survey of school food.

Photo: pexels

Photo: pexels

The Children's Food Campaign has joined with other leading food, poverty and educational organisations in a new school food review working group, which is calling on the Government to undertake a root and branch review of school food in order to

  • Put nutritious food centre stage for all children in school, helping them to eat better and learn better
  • Ensure that every child can access a hot, healthy meal, every day at school
  • Demonstrate the positive impact of an improved school food system on learning and health outcomes

The working group is chaired by Dr Nick Capstick, CEO of White Horse Federation, a trust of 32 schools focussing on areas of high disadvantage. The group's work is supported by Impact on Urban Health and co-ordinated by Food Foundation, School Food Matters and Bite Back 2030 along with a wider group of expert partners.

Speaking about the group’s formation, Dr Nick Capstick says:

“The last year has been incredibly difficult for pupils, parents, teachers and the frontline teams that support us in schools. We are so grateful for the way that everyone has pulled together. As we collectively start to look beyond the pandemic, we have the chance to listen, learn and rebuild towards a healthier future for every young person.

The first phase of the working group’s activity is to conduct a broad survey of schools, pupils, parents, caterers, local authorities and NGOs to collect insights on best practice from across the UK and identify priority areas for reform.

Nick Capstick says:

"The School Food Review working group is building the case for a post-Covid reset of school food, to set the stage for a healthier generation. I urge everyone to complete the survey, so that we can effectively demonstrate the positive impact of an improved school food system on learning and health.”

The survey has been developed in partnership with the GENIUS network (the UK based network of academics interested in school food) and is now live until 19th July.

Take part in the survey now

The group will then build a case for school food reform in England, engaging across Government departments and
working closely with the sector.

Anna Garrod, Policy and Influencing Director, Impact on Urban Health says:

‘We are excited to be partnering with and supporting the working group to call for a review of school food. All children should be provided with nutritious, tasty food no matter where they go to school. We know that this is currently not the case, with the quality of school food differing hugely across England. There is a real potential post Covid, to re-align incentives in
the school food system to prioritise nutritious food and ensure that children’s health is put first.’

Notes for Editors

1. The School Food Review working group survey is live until 19th July here:

2. Current members of the School Food Review working group are:
Adopt a School, Royal Academy of Culinary Arts
ASSIST Facilities Management (ASSIST FM)
Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE)
APSE Scotland
Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)
Bite Back 2030
Chefs in Schools
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)
Children in Northern Ireland
Children’s Food Campaign
Eagle Solutions
Federation of Wholesale Distributors
Feeding Britain
Food for Life
Food Foundation
Food Sense Wales
GENIUS School Food Network
Impact on Urban Health
Institute of School Business Leadership
Jamie Oliver Group
LACA – the school food people
LACA Wales
Local Government Association (LGA)
Magic Breakfast
National Governance Association (NGA)
Northumbria University
School Food Matters
Soil Association
The Children’s Society
The Mayor’s Fund

Published Thursday 1 July 2021

Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

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