New Westfield school kitchen opens

Pupils at Westfield Primary School in York will taste the first meals from their brand new kitchen and dining room this week following an £650,000 refit.

The school kitchen and dining room have undergone an ambitious refurbishment, turning a tired and dysfunctional space into an efficient facility where staff can prepare nutritious lunches for the x pupils.

Cllr Andrew Waller, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for the Environment, City of York Council, said: “This has been a major refurbishment scheme for the school and so pleased that the staff, students and community will now get the opportunity to reap the rewards of all the hard work as a One Planet York project.”

The kitchen and dining refurbishment at Westfield Primary school was to completely change two very large connected spaces that were bowing under the weight of their inefficiency.  The only way to solve the problems was to take a holistic One Planet approach and transform all aspects of these areas from the roofs down.

The result is one where we can say that energy efficiency has been truly optimised:

Westfield school

The leaking roofs over the dining room and kitchen have been entirely recovered;

Insulation has been installed between the roof spaces;

Suspended ceilings now provide warmth along with acoustic cushioning;

Tired single glazing has been replaced by new double glazed windows;

LED lighting has been installed throughout which will make a huge difference to the reduction of electrical output;

The kitchen has been completely re designed, reducing clutter and making the kitchen operation slicker;

New energy efficient kitchen equipment has been installed, reducing cooking times and streamlining food production whilst maintaining the already high standard of nutrition;

A new servery now makes queuing for meals a faster operation whilst allowing the pupils to see the food as it is being served;

School staff now have the space to guide pupils in and out of the queue to new dining tables;

This project has made Westfield Primary’s kitchen and dining areas enviably sustainable for many years to come

Major improvements announced at Westfield School

Westfield school

A meeting of the Councils Executive will be asked next week to agree to an investment of £650,000 at Westfield Primary school

The money will be spent modernising and expanding school meal provision at the school.

A report  describes the background to the plan. ”

The increasing number of pupils at the school has highlighted the problems the  school currently has around the management of the school meals service as more pupils are having a school meal.

The proposed scheme will include work on both the dining and kitchen areas which will address current safety concerns and enable more pupils to access nutritional school meals”.

York ready to serve up free school meals to infants

The percentage of pupils in York opting for a school meal is expected to rise from 40% to 63% this September with the introduction of the national initiative offering free school meals to all Key Stage 1 pupils [Reception, Year 1 and Year 2] pupils.

Nick Clegg launching the new scheme last year

Nick Clegg launching the new scheme last year

The scheme was announced by the coalition government  a year ago

City of York Council has been working with primary schools and its school meals catering providers to ensure that all the children wanting a hot school meal can get one.

Each school site has been surveyed and the necessary supplies – from cutlery to ovens and fridges – have been ordered, and trial days have been held in some schools to evaluate how best to facilitate the increased demand for school lunches. Adaptations and additional equipment have been funded through a £370,000 grant from the government.

Evidence shows that eating a good meal at lunchtime has important health and educational benefits for children.

The meals can improve their diet, promote healthy eating habits and increase concentration during afternoon lessons.

Parents with children in Key Stage 1 are encouraged to consider taking up the free school meals offer.

Schools meal prices to be reduced in York?

It seems that the governments decision to provide free school meals for all under 7 year olds (Key Stage 1) could result in a general reduction in the price of school meals.

Contractors are understood to have said that the larger volume of food being cooked would result in lower unit costs for all meals.

School lunch 2

At present school meals in York at £2-25p (Secondary £2.40) are amongst the most expensive in the country.

As a result school meal take up is relatively low at 38%

It now seems likely that if the cost of meals can be reduced to £2 then an increase to a 55% take up could be achieved.

Of the 64 schools in York, 44 are in the Local Authority’s school meals contract with ISS (Education). In York, all meals are freshly prepared in school except for two small schools. Quality and nutritional value of the meals is good

2503 children in York currently are entitled to free school meals. Schools receive additional funding of £953 per pupil in 2013/14 (rising to £1,300 for primary schools in 2014/15) as a pupil premium from the Government, for every pupil registered for free school meals.

A national Department for Education report (Data source: DWP December 2011) indicated that a further 400 pupils in York might be entitled to free school meals but their parents had not registered and claimed for the benefit. This not only means that those pupils are missing out on a free meal but York schools are not receiving the additional funding per pupil as detailed above.

A report of a Council working group is being considered next week.