School Meals

Who provides our school meals?

Our school meals are designed to provide a varied, healthy and interesting menu for our children and are excellent value for money.

Meals are cooked and prepared fresh each day on site in our own kitchen, by our catering provider Aspens.   We are so excited to work with Aspens as they only cater for schools which means they can mix all their knowledge with an understanding of what’s hot in the food world which then sparks creativity and excitement in our fantastic chefs.  So, you can be sure of seeing some innovative dishes on our menus along with the traditional favourites you’d expect.  Find out more about Aspens by clicking here.

Our kitchens provide delicious home cooked food each day and cater for individual dietary requirements.  We provide a good balance of healthy foods to support growth and development, and to encourage long-term good eating habits.  Meals are varied, to introduce our children to different foods.

Pupils from Reception-Year 2 are entitled to a free school meal as part of the Universal Infant Free School Meals government funding. For pupils in Nursery, and Y3-Y6, meals cost £2.25 per day and can be paid via our online payment system (ParentPay).

Aspens tell us:

“We want everyone who eats with us to look forward to their mealtimes, love what they have to eat and then have the energy for everything else that the day has to offer. We don’t just provide food, we play our part to educate children and raise awareness about nutrition, food and where it comes from, so that they can make informed and mindful choices. Our actions can impact the environment, so we are dedicated to taking measures to reduce our footprint.  To find out more click Our Planet.”

A school meal may contribute to;

  • improved behaviour in the afternoon
  • improved concentration in the classroom
  • a reinforcement of social skills and positive behaviour throughout the day
  • a habit for healthy eating which is likely to stay with the child for life
  • an increased intake of vegetables and a decline in consumption of soft drinks and crisps

Remember too that school meals provide your child with the opportunity to develop social skills while they enjoy eating with other children.  Research has shown that a healthy, nutritious school meal can provide your child with the energy required to concentrate in class and cope with the demands of the day. (The Guardian – ‘Pupils work improves after a healthy lunch’)

What food is on offer each day?

The school menu rotates on a three-week basis and refreshes for Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer seasons.  The current menu can be downloaded here:

https://www.stfrancispri.dalesmat.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/St-Francis-Spring-Summer-Menu-2024.pdf

How can I arrange school meals for my child?

If you access the following form, this will help us to know whether your child will be having a school meal or packed lunch, which days your child will be having a packed lunch and your child’s choice of meal. Parents should make choices with their children for pupils in Nursery and Reception so please see the office regarding how to do this. The rest of the school makes their choice as they reach the hatch each day.

Special diets are an integral part of our catering provision, whether as a result of an ethical or religious belief or a food intolerance or allergy.  To register any special diets as a requirement please complete and return the special diets form to the school as soon as possible. If you would like to contact Aspens directly, please see a member of staff and they will be happy to provide you with contact details.

What do I do if I think my child is entitled to free school meals?

Families in our Dales Multi Academy Trust are being encouraged to check whether they may be eligible for free school meals.

Applying for free school meals is a simple process and there is no need to worry about other children knowing who does and doesn’t get free school meals as it’s a confidential service.

Free school meals are also available to children whose parents receive certain benefits.  If you feel that your child may be entitled to free school meals, please check the Stockton on Tees website https://www.stockton.gov.uk/children-and-young-people/schools/school-meals/ and speak to Miss Pickering or Mrs Martin in the school office. If you do meet the criteria, please apply as this will ensure that the school also receives additional funding to support your child’s education.

Fruit and Milk

Nursery, Reception and KS1 children receive fruit every day.  Children in KS2 are welcome to bring in a piece of fruit to eat at playtime.

Children in Nursery are provided with cold milk each day with their piece of fruit at snack time. If they do not like milk or have an allergy, an alternative of water is provided.

If you would like more information on healthy eating for your child please click here to visit the NHS Change4Life website where you can find some great recipe ideas and meal inspiration.