You are here: Home | Latest News | Latest | School Meals and Ofsted – Briefing

Latest News

School Meals and Ofsted – Briefing

Published: Thursday, 28th April 2016

The School Food Plan and the introduction of Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) have had a profound effect on the finances of school caterers in England and Scotland.

The following is an extract from a APSE briefing (Association for Public Sector Excellence):
Key issues:

  • School meals now form part of the Ofsted inspection regime
  • Head teachers and governors are required to actively encourage healthy eating
  • The school canteen is an integral part of the inspection visit

With the integration of the School Food Plan within the school curriculum, questions remained over
the importance of the arrangements for school meals. Initial indications suggested that some head
teachers were restricting the time allowed for school lunchtime to fulfil other priorities. No formal
inspection regime accompanied the plan, leaving many to question how strictly aspects such as food
standards would be adhered to.
As the inspecting body, Ofsted issued guidance but this was subsequently withdrawn. Inspectors were
deemed not to be food experts and therefore not capable of making an informed judgement on the
meals served.
Recent developments:
Following intervention by Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary group on School
Food, Ofsted has reviewed the position and has actually gone further. The New Inspection Framework
from September 2015 will require inspectors to ‘look for evidence of the culture or ethos of exercise
and healthy eating throughout their entire inspection visit, in classrooms as well as in the school
canteen’. Furthermore Ofsted will be providing training to inspectors on how to ensure that food is
properly inspected and healthy eating effective.

Full details, including the letter to schools can be found here:  APSE Briefing