Balfour Primary School
During discussions relating to the amalgamation of Balfour Infants and Balfour Junior to create Balfour Primary, issues were raised about Key Stage 2 lunchtime by the Headteacher.
These issues, based on consultations conducted by the school with pupils, teachers and Midday Supervisors, include:
- Packed lunch eaters not being able to sit next to school meal eaters.
- The amount of time spent queuing for lunch.
- Poor food quality and hygiene.
- Midday Supervisors not spending enough time encouraging children to eat.
- Children not being able to either find a seat, or access it easily, due to a table layout that was not using the available space effectively.
Based on the consultation feedback, meetings were held with Brighton & Hove City Council School Meals Team, the caterers, Eden Food Services and Midday Supervisors to discuss and agree a series of systemic lunchtime changes. Based on these meetings the following action plan was agreed and implemented in February 2012.
- Provision of new tables and chairs with an increased seating capacity funded by Brighton & Hove City Council School Meals Team.
- Children sit in friendship groups as part of three 20 minute set sittings to allow packed lunch eaters to sit with school meal eaters and to ensure they know who they will be sittings with, at what time and for how long.
- Children sit down in their friendship groups at the beginning of their sitting to avoid a big queue for school dinners. Midday Supervisors then invite small groups to collect their dinner which reduces queuing time.
- Children can’t leave the dining hall during their sitting which gives Midday Supervisors more time to encourage eating.
- Happier children – Almost 50% of teachers say children are happier at lunchtime and the dining hall is more civilised.
- Less queuing – Over 65% of pupils say they have to queue less.
- Sitting with friends – Overwhelming majority of pupils really appreciate sitting with friends and packed lunch eaters being able to sit next to school meal eaters.
- More sociable experience – 50% of Midday Supervisors feel lunchtime is more sociable and a more relaxed atmosphere in the dining hall.
- More children drinking – The number of children who had a drink at lunchtime increased by 45% – up from 186 surveyed before the changes to 271 after the changes were introduced.
- More children eating all their dinner – Those children who ate all their dinner increased from 43% out of 120 surveyed before the changes to 50% out of 180 surveyed after the changes.
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