Devon Academy Trust Puts Food and Nutrition at the Top of the Menu for Pupils

The Learning Academy Partnership, a Multi-Academy Trust consisting of 8 primary schools across the South West, is making mealtimes a priority as they improve food standards and education across their schools.

Based across four regional Hubs, one of which is a management partnership, the Trust now has in-house catering teams in both the Torquay and the South Hams Hubs and is making efforts to drive up food standards throughout all its schools. The catering teams are always in regular communication, discussing ways to improve and coordinate their ideas. Learning Academy Partnership’s schools are in Devon in Thurlestone, Charleton, West Alvington , Torquay, Dunsford and Newton Abbot. The Trust is due to open a new school in Paignton and is in a Management Partnership with a school in Dartington.

Before lockdown measures came into place, the Learning Academy Partnership’s catering teams launched new school menus that had been created with thorough nutritional analysis. It includes some fan favourites like spaghetti bolognese and roast dinners, as well as some healthy treats like organic ice lollies.

The Trust is determined that food and nutrition is a whole school initiative, which is why they are making sure that parents and teachers from across the year groups are involved. Parents were invited in for a taster day to celebrate the launch of the menus, which was a huge success, and cooking lessons were run for the Year 6s to teach them how to make some of the food at home. The teams have also been trying to get the local community engaged and invited some of the older local residents in for meals.

Over lockdown, the schools stayed open to key workers and vulnerable children and the catering teams continued to make hot meals for them. They also created food hampers for those eligible for Free School Meals, with the Torquay team providing 300 hampers a week whilst the South Hams team provided 150.

Now that schools have reopened, the teams are carefully navigating school bubbles and social distancing measures to ensure they can still provide top quality meals to pupils in a safe way. Whilst schools in the South Hams Hub have been able to use their dining rooms on a rota, those in the Torquay Hub have been eating in their classrooms, and the catering staff have found innovative ways to deliver meals like fish and chips in a lunch box, much to the delight of pupils.

Mrs Keiller, Learning Academy Partnership’s Catering Manager, said:

“Nutritious school meals should be at the forefront of any school’s approach to education because they are absolutely essential to aiding concentration and creating positive learning environments. I’m extremely proud to be part of a Trust that always puts Children first and an initiative that is not only improving school meals for pupils, but also looking beyond that to encourage them to learn about and enjoy cooking and healthy choices.

“Any profit that we make will go back into investing in school meals, helping the families that need them most. Learning Academy Partnership’s commitment to putting children first is always evident, and that includes all aspects of their wellbeing.”

Mrs Atkinson, Chief Executive of Learning Academy Partnership, said:

“At the Learning Academy Partnership we take a holistic approach to education, and that very much includes food and nutrition. It’s important that our children are feeling happy and able to learn, and school meals are central to ensuring this. We’re very proud of our catering teams who have been working hard to make important improvements to ensure good nutrition is a priority across the Trust and we have already seen the positive impact that this has had so far.”

Devon Academy Trust Puts Food and Nutrition at the Top of the Menu for Pupils