Creating Healthier Schools and Nurseries
What your child eats has an effect on both their health now and later in life. By supporting our work in nurseries and schools, you’ll not only help us make a difference to childrens’ wellbeing, but also their opportunities to learn.
Good food in schools
The lessons your children learn about food stay with them for life. Schools are in a unique position to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to maintain lifelong healthy eating habits.
We believe that every child deserves good food – no matter who they are or where they come from. That's why, supported by the Big Lottery Fund and expert partners, we set up the Soil Association Food for Life programme.
Food for Life awarded schools not only serve good food, they ensure that meals are attractive and enjoyed in a calm, welcoming environment. They provide cooking, growing and farm-linked education not only to children, but to parents and the wider community. They embed a good food culture using a whole school approach that ensures pupils have their say.
Independent evaluation shows the impact of bringing these elements together:
- Pupils in Food for Life schools are twice as likely to eat five a day and a third less likely to eat no fruit or vegetables than pupils in comparison schools (UWE, 2015).
- 45% of parents said their family was eating more vegetables as a result of FFL, with 43% switching to healthier and more sustainable choices in the shopping basket.
Good Food in Nurseries
The first years of life are critical in a child’s growth and development. Good food not only supports their physical needs but the eating habits they set now will stay with them for life.
Nurseries and children’s centres have a vital opportunity to provide good, nutritious food and both the experience and understanding of how to eat well.
The Food for Life Early Years award is based on the same principles as our schools award and provides the framework and support for nurseries and children’s centres to provide good quality, nutritious food and to help children develop good eating habits for life.
The Catering Mark ensures that children are getting fresh, traceable and trustworthy food when they’re at nursery.
Both offer reassuring endorsements for parents as well as supporting children to get the best start in life.
- Over 1,000 schools in England have achieved a Food for Life Schools Award with many more engaged in the programme.
- Over 8,300 schools are now serving healthy meals that meet Catering Mark standards, an independent guarantee that food on the plate is fresh, traceable and free from undesirable additives. This includes 50% of English primary schools, eight Scottish authorities, and 75% of London Boroughs.
- There are over 300 nurseries serving meals to Catering Mark standards, transforming meals for hundreds of nursery children in the UK.
In this section...
Our Food for Life School Award provided a clear framework for the school canteen, the curriculum and beyond the school gates. It shows we really want the best food for our children and community and want to help them understand why eating well is so important to their health and learning.Liz Whetham Head teacher Holy Trinity Primary School, Halifax