Potteries schools recognised for healthy food awards

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Eight Stoke-on-Trent schools have celebrated their success in the Soil Association’s Food for Life awards.

The schools each received a Bronze certificate as part of the Food for Life healthy food award scheme, and students were also presented with organic vegetable hampers at the CoRE Conference Centre in Longton.

The awards were presented after staff, students and guests enjoyed a fully-catered meal as part of a day of activities organised by Food for Life, a branch of the Soil Association which promotes healthy and sustainable eating in schools and other organisations.

The eight schools that were presented with Bronze awards were: Park Hall Academy, Heron Cross Primary, Abbey Hill School and Performing Arts College, Forest Park Primary, Alexandra Junior School, the Co-operative Academy of Stoke-on-Trent, the Willows Primary School and Ormiston Horizon Academy.

Staff and students from the schools have all been working with Food for Life for the past year, and working towards their Bronze awards by learning about healthy eating and growing their own food.

Staff from several of the schools said that they would now begin working towards a Silver award.

Yvonne Scragg, deputy head at Abbey Hill Primary School, said: “In essence we were actually already doing a lot of the things that were set out in the criteria but the programme has made us pull it together, and really focus and celebrate just how much we are doing.

“Silver will be more of a challenge. We will have to widen the opportunities we have in the curriculum and extend links in the community so there will definitely be more for us to work towards.”

The awards also require the schools’ catering department to achieve the relevant Food for Life catering mark, meeting targets for sustainability.

City Catering provided the food for the meal at the event, and also provides school meals for many of the winning schools.

Louise Weaver of City Catering said: “We provide most of the schools in Stoke-on-Trent with their lunches and we have the Silver catering mark.

“That means all our food is sustainable, local, farm-assured and organic. That helps them towards their awards.

“I’m very pleased with how today has gone.”

Martin Harrison, Food for Life’s Stoke-on-Trent programme manager, has been visiting the participating schools as they learn about healthy eating and also presented the awards today.

He is hopeful that the schools will now carry on their skills into trying to achieve Silver awards.

He said: “Bronze is about embedding and seeing where they are in terms of the growing, the cooking and the school lunchtimes.

“For Silver we push them a little bit to get more involved, do it more regularly and get more people involved.

“But the big thing there is that City Catering already have the Silver catering mark so the food quality side is covered, it’s down to what the schools do.”

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