Cobham Free School recognises the importance of a healthy diet for the welfare of all children. Offering high quality, nutritious meals is a key part of our food strategy. Eating healthily improves the short-term health of children, allows them to grow and develop properly and helps to avoid chronic disease later in life. Research has shown that school meals can also help improve children’s concentration, achievement and behaviour.
Lunchtimes are an important social focus of the day and good table manners are encouraged alongside healthy eating. Meals are cooked on site by our caterers, Absolutely Catering, and carefully planned to provide a balanced, healthy diet. All pupils are required to eat the school lunch and we do not permit packed lunches to be brought to school. We are able to cater for pupils with allergies, religious or other special dietary requirements and our chef is happy to work with parents to provide an appropriate menu for those children with specific needs.
The food strategy is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure arrangements are age appropriate. As the school expands, and once we are able to use our new dining facility at Munro House, we anticipate a greater selection of lunch choices to be made available. However, it is not part of the longer term vision of the school to introduce packed lunches as an option.
Cobham Free School follows the recommendations of the School Food Plan – an agreed plan originally published by the Department for Education in July 2013 that has the support of the Secretary of State for Education. The plan aims to significantly increase the number of children eating good food in schools, to determine the role of growing, cooking and eating proper food in schools and to improve children's academic performance and the health of the nation.
Health and nutrition are an important part of the curriculum at Cobham Free School and pupils have the opportunity to grow their own produce in the school garden, as well as designing and preparing healthy meals in food technology lessons.
The curriculum is enriched with special themed days run by our catering team. These have included a French dining experience to support the teaching of Modern Foreign Languages, where students had the opportunity to savour delicacies such as escargot and cuisses de grenouilles.
Pupils are encouraged to contribute their ideas towards menus; the school council often feedback to the chef and all children are able to add suggestions to a comments book at the end of each meal.
On occasions, we also invite parents to join us to sample the lunch as part of a 'Come Dine with Me' experience.
Cost of Lunches
The price of the lunch is £2.95 per day for the academic year 2016/17 and this includes a main course and pudding, as well as salad, crudites, bread and fresh fruit. In the senior department there is also an option to purchase a break time snack, taking the cost to £3.50 per day. The current lunch menu is available in the secure area of this website for parents to view. Example menus can be seen below.
Parents use the school Parentpay system to pay for the lunches. Some children qualifying for the Pupil Premium are entitled to Free School Meals and all Lower School pupils have a free lunch as part of the government's infant Universal Free School Meals programme.
Health and Safety
Cobham Free School has a nut free policy and is able to cater for pupils with a range of other food allergies. Having compulsory school lunches helps us control the ingredients on the school premises and is an important part of our health and safety policy.