We feel that the school lunch is an important part of the school day and the quality of the food needs to reflect the continued improvements that the school is making.
From September 2015, Shoreditch Park Primary School has been working in partnership with Ashlyns, a farming family business in Essex who have transformed school meals both in Essex and East London. Ashlyns have long been at the forefront of the campaign to improve school meals and have worked closely with the School Food Trust, Soil Association’s “Food for Life” programme, Jamie Oliver, local and national government and DEFRA to understand and implement the changes required to advance the campaign.
Although Ashlyns started out life as an organic farm they soon recognised that school budgets cannot withstand a completely organic menu and so they have come up with the next best solution. They use local produce wherever they can and have a network of local producers to supply the meat, fruit and vegetables. Their eggs are local free range and their milk and yoghurts are organic from Somerset. Their halal meat is all farm assured (which promotes high animal welfare) and Ashlyns employ their own butchers to prepare everything. All the meals will be prepared on site using fresh raw ingredients except for the fish on Friday. Potato wedges will replace chips and even if there is a pizza on the menu it will be handmade using fresh ingredients.
Ashlyns quickly identified the need to inspire and enthuse school catering staff to give them the skills needed to make their vision a reality. To achieve this, they converted a cattle barn on the farm into a state of the art training kitchen to be able to deliver the practical and theory aspects of training required. This model was so successful it was considered as the benchmark for a national network of training kitchens.
So what does this mean for Shoreditch Park?
Ashlyns’ menus offer a meat and a vegetarian dish every day and a jacket potato. Freshly cut fruit or an organic yoghurt is available every day and, on set days, a cooked pudding.
The menus are designed in consultation with the School Council and the School Food Action Group to give the children a voice in what is on offer. You can find all of the recipes for the meals we serve at Shoreditch Park on the Ashlyn's website.
Menus are changed twice a year to reflect seasonality and meet nutritional standards. The need for special dietary requirements can usually be met through communication between parents, the School and the catering team.
If your child is not eligible for Free School Meals, it will cost £1.90 per meal. If you would like to apply for Free School Meals, please come to the school office for a copy of the form.