Lunchtime at Trafford Schools is to become even more exciting for pupils by firmly putting them in control of building their own balanced meal.
Trafford Council has developed and invested in innovative software which is currently being rolled out at schools across the borough. The software is set to become an interactive part of the classroom lesson by allowing pupils to ‘choose’ their meal from a pre-prepared selection using an interactive whiteboard.
Over 2.5 million school meals are served in Trafford schools each year. This is increasing following the introduction of Universal Infant Free School Meals. These meals also follow the guidelines set out in the School Food Plan. The technology is also helping to provide a fast and efficient service to meet the demand.
The new system will also help to reduce queuing times and reduce the amount of waste through by not over ordering with suppliers or over-producing.
Trafford Council’s Executive Councillor for Transformation and Resources, Laura Evans, said: “Through this system school dinners can become a fun part of the school week! Pupils can pick and choose what they want from a pre-prepared selection of foods learning about nutrition from an early age.
It has proved really popular with the pupils who feel in control of what they are eating and schools are confident they are providing popular and healthy choices – making the healthy choice the first choice on the menu!
Feedback from parents has also been really positive and we are also supporting our staff to deliver an efficient meal service whilst ensuring children are receiving a ‘freshly cooked’ hot meal of their choice. The important thing is to ensure a child is eating a healthy balanced meal and this is one of the ways we can do our utmost to ensure this happens.”
Acting School Cook Supervisor, Laura from Urmston Junior School, said: “Since the new system has been put in place we have been able to monitor the take up of foods so we know what’s popular and what’s not so we can adapt our menus accordingly.
By pre-ordering, it also means that the correct quantities of foods are bought from suppliers, and the exact number of meals can be ‘made to order’. All this is helping drive efficiencies and reduce waste as well as disappointment for those at the back of the queue should their choice have run out by the time they get there.
It has allowed us to make sure pupils are receiving good quality food, of which most is now ‘freshly produced’ using locally sourced and fresh ingredients where possible.”
The new system also promotes an online payment system which means accounts can be managed without the parent/carer having to come into school to pay and avoids the pupil carrying cash – or spending it on the way to school.