School food policies

Find out what to include in your school food policy and see examples from other schools.

Last reviewed on 29 April 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 41627
  1. Understand your requirements
  2. What to include in your policy
  3. Examples of school food policies

Understand your requirements

There's no statutory requirement for your school to have a school food policy. 

If you do decide to create a school food policy, you'll need to make sure that it reflects and complies with the regulations below.

Follow the school food standards

The national school food standards set out your duty to provide nutritious food for pupils, and encourage healthy eating. 

The Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014 introduced these standards for school food into law, and specify which types of food and drinks should be served at school and how often. 

The DfE has created a package of resources, including a practical guide to the food standards, to help you plan and provide healthy food.

It states that a healthy, balanced diet for pupils should include:

  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Plenty of unrefined starchy foods
  • Some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
  • Some milk and dairy foods
  • A small amount of food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt

Comply with allergen regulations

Under Natasha's Law, you're required to list the ingredients on food that is repackaged for direct sale on your premises.

This is outlined in the Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019

What to include in your policy

Consider what food your policy will cover

The scope of your school food policy will depend on your school's context. For example, it might cover:

  • School lunches
  • Lunches brought in from home
  • Snacks
  • Breakfast club
  • Food provided for school trips
  • Vending machines on your school site

State what food will be provided throughout the day, and how this complies with the above regulations and requirements. 

Add links to any relevant health and safety policies.

Set out your aims and principles

Include your commitment to helping children develop healthy eating habits in your policy.

You can also include any other principles appropriate to your school in the policy, such as:

  • Sustainability and using locally-sourced ingredients 
  • Enhancing pupils' cultural experiences through food
  • The link between eating habits and mental health

State how you will monitor and evaluate these aims in your policy. For example:

  • Any relevant accreditation your school has
  • Plans to engage with local businesses and organisations to promote healthy living
  • Extra-curricular activities that support a healthy lifestyle

Cover your food and nutrition education

Include how you will meet your aims by teaching about food and healthy living as part of your curriculum. This may be appropriate in:

  • PSHE
  • PE
  • Science
  • Food technology

Outline your approach to dietary requirements

Use your policy to set out your school's approach to dietary requirements and how you will accommodate them.

This may include:

  • Vegetarians and vegans
  • Religious and ethnic groups
  • Food allergies and intolerances

Link to any relevant policies and procedures, e.g. your allergy policy or your approach to supporting fasting pupils.

Read more about involving your school community in allergy awareness.

Examples of school food policies

Primary schools

Rise Park Primary and Nursery School in Nottingham has a healthy food and schools policy that covers:

  • Food provision throughout the day
  • Sustainability
  • Dietary requirements and food safety

Tattershall Primary School in Lincolnshire has a food policy that sets out:

  • The school's objectives
  • Actions the school will take to meet the objectives
  • How the school will monitor and evaluate progress

Secondary school

Kings Langley School in Hertfordshire has a whole-school food policy. It includes:

  • The role of the food policy co-ordinator
  • The aim to provide healthy food options and help pupils to make healthy choices
  • The school's commitment to accommodate dietary requirements whenever possible
  • Exceptions to the food policy, such as fundraising events
  • The school's use of the Eatwell Guide as a model understanding of a balanced diet

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