The impact of the Food for Life Partnership

Independent research, summarised in a new report 'Good food for all' reveals the success of five years of the Food for Life Partnership. The Partnership is working with over 3,800 schools and communities accross England to transform food culture. The evidence from three independent research studies focuses in particular on four main areas of impact: children’s health, tackling inequalities, improving education, and local enterprise and sustainability.

Good for improving education

  • More than twice as many FFLP primary schools received an Ofsted rating of outstanding following their participation (37.2% compared to 17.3% outstanding pre-enrolment). Headteachers reported a positive impact on pupil behaviour, attention and attainment.
  • Inspectors have recognised the positive role of FFLP in supporting personal development and wellbeing: 67.1 per cent of schools felt the programme had a clear impact on their Ofsted report in terms of pupils’ personal development and well-being. 

Good for children's health

  • The programme is associated with changes in eating habits, with an increase in the proportion of primary school-age children reporting eating five portions of fruit or vegetables a day by 5 per cent to 21 per cent (those reporting eating four or more portions rose by 12 per cent to 49 per cent). And 45 per cent of parents said the family is eating more vegetables, with 43 per cent switching to healthier and more sustainable choices in the shopping basket.

Good for tackling inequalities

  • Disadvantaged pupils are benefiting: over a two-year period, free school meal take-up went up 13 percentage points in FFLP schools, 20.9 per cent in secondary schools, and by 21 per cent across the board in schools achieving our Silver or Gold award. Nationally, over 20% of primary school pupils and 30% of secondary school pupils eligible for healthy free school meals choose not to eat them for reasons including fear of stigma and the lure of fast food outlets.

Good for local enterprise and sustainability

  • School meal take-up rose by 5 percentage points over two years, making them more cost effective
  • Over £3 in social, economic and environmental value was created for every £1 spent on Food for Life menus, mostly in the form of new jobs in the local economy.

The independent evaluation team: