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Ofsted inspectors now consider food in schools

On 12 September 2013, Ofsted released new subsidiary guidance supporting the inspection of maintained schools and academies.

This guidance states:
Inspectors should consider the food on offer at the school and atmosphere of the school canteen. They should:

  • consider how lunch time and the dining space contribute to good behaviour and the culture in the school, including by spending time in the lunch hall, and
  • ask school leaders how they help to ensure a healthy lifestyle for their children and, specifically, whether their dietary needs have been considered.

This completes Action 9 of the School Food Plan.


Food in schools: encouraging healthier eating

New interim standards for food in schools came into force in September 2006. Our survey aimed to evaluate the progress schools were making in meeting these standards and to identify strategies helping pupils and families understand healthy eating. This report considers a range of food-related issues, including the new food standards, the quality of dining areas, the take-up of school meals, and pupils’ understanding of food and healthy eating.

Healthy Eating in Schools

This report is Ofsted’s response to the increasing public concern about the quality of children’s diets, rapidly increasing rates of child obesity and dietrelated diseases, and low consumption of fruit and vegetables by children.

As preparation for a major survey of food in schools to be carried out in 2006/07, Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools (HMI), accompanied by nutritionists appointed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), undertook a small scale survey, including visits to 10 schools from clusters of primary and secondary schools in three local authorities. Additional evidence was gathered from over 50 reports of school inspections that had been conducted under the new framework for inspection, from reports on personal, social and health education (PSHE) and from reports on schools visited as part of a survey on learners’ health and well-being.1 Unless otherwise stated, when proportions of schools are referred to in the report, they apply to this wider evidence base.