Recipe for Change is a group of social entrepreneurs with a background in public health and marketing that are passionate about people eating together and engaging in good conversation at lunchtime.
We believe that socialising at mealtimes is an important way for young people to make new friends, to improve their communication skills and to develop good table manners.
Within a school environment, an unstructured lunchtime, where children feel rushed and don’t get the chance to sit with their friends, can have a detrimental impact on their safety and behaviour. This can lead to vulnerable children being excluded, not wanting to eat their dinner and becoming distracted in afternoon lessons.
The School Food Plan commissioned by the Secretary of State for Education and launched in July 2013 recognises how important school food provision is. The Plan includes additional safety and behaviour Ofsted judgements. Inspectors will:
[…] 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.
Dr Ed Baines, Senior Lecturer in Psychology of Education at the Institute of Education believes that:
[…] school lunchtimes are often overlooked as a key time during children’s lives to socialise with peers and friends of their own choosing
The results of his national surveys on school break times highlight that:
[…] lunchtimes, whether we are talking about eating a meal or outside play and social engagement, are times that the substantial majority of children report being very happy indeed. When challenged, policy makers and schools might be excused for thinking that break and lunchtimes are disposable. It might also be argued that social and emotional skills are often taught as part of the school curriculum (through SEAL, PSHE and circle time). While these lessons are good opportunities for reflecting on and thinking about social relationships and behaviour, they are not, and can never be, replacements for the real thing.
We set up Recipe for Change to help preserve these valuable social occasions and create restaurant style lunchtimes for schools that help improve safety and behaviour as well as motivating young people to sit and eat together.