New Film: SAY YES to School Food For All
What would happen if other parts of the school day – chairs, desks, bathrooms – were treated like food?
Just like desks, books and bathrooms, we should give school food to every child.
We want to change the UK school meals’ policy. Add yourself to the map and we’ll deliver it (and every name on it) to Government later this year.
About the film
The film invites the viewer to a highly unusual day at school: children need to bring in their own chairs, or either collect a free one if they qualify; desks are not available to all students and there is a charge to use the bathroom. Access to key parts of the school day is restricted, and some of the students miss out.
Through the eyes of the children, the film exposes the absurdity of school meals being the only means tested part of the school day. While not commonly thought of as a ‘resource’ like pens and paper, school meals are essential for learning. No other part of the school day is means tested; no other resource is called ‘free’. The film asks the viewer: what would school look like if everything in a school was treated like school meals?
This film was shot with 10 pupils from year 6 from Sacred Heart Primary School in Battersea, South London, November 2022. Taking place over a whole day, the children first explored the issues tackled by the film with Children’s Food Campaign and together they elicited thoughts on injustice and unfairness. The children then met the film crew and to their delight, were presented with the technical equipment used for filming, seeing how to operate a camera and sound. After this, the pupils took part in a full day shoot, showing great patience and commitment as they took direction from the crew in what were sometimes numerous takes.
Sustain and Children’s Food Campaign wishes to thank Sacred Heart Battersea and Jared Brading, Executive Head Teacher for collaborating with the campaign and being the first school to SAY YES.
Special thanks to pupils:
- Luke Kai Swan
- Daniel Olaseinde
- Elaina Maria Jessy Tucker
- Caleb Nassengho Nunes
- Scott Leaver
- Colm Casey
- Orlando Carlotti-Lu
- Tahlia Eva Rodney
- Madeleine Sedda
- Daisy Whittiar Holme
- Maeva Enonuya
- Lilly Louise Turner
Responding to why the school took part in the campaign, Jared Brading, Executive Headteacher, Federation of Sacred Heart & St Mary’s RC Primary Schools, Battersea, LB Wandsworth said:
“Hot, healthy school meals are so important to children and their families. We see the results of a quality lunch in the classroom: better fed children become better performing pupils. After the brilliant news that the Mayor of London will fund school meals for all children in London primary schools, it would be great to see this vital support extended further. This is why the children of Sacred Heart have starred in this film, because here we say ‘yes’ to free school meals for all.”
About the campaign
To mark International School Meals Day (Thursday 9 March), a new campaign coalition is launching the ‘Say Yes to School Food For All’ campaign, seeking an end to means testing by 2030. They argue that all children should receive school meals, in the same way they get books, desks and chairs.
A growing postcode lottery in free school meals has emerged, with more children receiving free school meals in in Scotland, Wales and London, which campaigners says is unfair to the children and families left behind.
Local authorities, unions and charities are already backing the campaign, which also has the support of Henry Dimbleby, author of the national food strategy. The campaign calls on the government to join countries including India, Brazil, Estonia, Finland and Sweden and to establish healthy school meals for all pupils. as part of a more inclusive, modern education system. The campaign is also calling on all political parties to remove the stigma of commit to an end to means testing of children for food in school, and deliver healthy school food for all by 2030.