Increased meal uptake at St. John’s Primary academy

  • Richard Sutton - Head Teacher John Wheeldon Primary Academy

Improved menu offer + larger portion sizes = increased school meal uptake

During the Covid-19 lockdown period, like many schools and academies, John Wheeldon Primary Academy was disappointed with the food offer served by their school’s catering provider. The quality of packed lunches given to pupils during covid restrictions was dissatisfying and when pupils returned back to school portion sizes appeared small. Both the academy and parents were unhappy with the service offer and, with a dwindling number of pupils taking lunch, the academy decided it was time for change.

As part of Staffordshire University Academy Trust, who employ CMC at a number of their other academies, John Wheeldon Primary had already heard of us and were confident in our ability to help them following recommendations from other schools outside the Trust. The Academies remit was to improve the menu offer to meet the needs of their pupils and staff, to increase portion sizes to ensure value for money and increase meal uptake. As a company of chefs and cooks, the food offer to pupils is key to our success, so we were excited to be given to the opportunity to work with the Academy.

The new service was launched in September 2021 with the support of our Catering Consultant Diane. Diane worked closely with the school’s Catering Team, implementing the CMC kitchen safety systems through the CMC Tracker; HACCP (Hazard analysis critical control points), Risk Assessments, COSHH (Control of substances hazardous to health) and Allergen Management, and ensured that all catering staff were trained on the systems and to Level 2 food safety in catering. Not having had an environmental health visit for over 3 years, the academy were keen to ensure that all food safety regulations were being met.

Purchasing through CMC suppliers on our catering Tracker system gave the school more product choice and stock control. This, together with the introduction of the CMC production planner, enabled the academy to offer better quality meals of larger portion sizes whilst still meeting their budget.

Coming to the end of their first year of in-house school catering with CMC and the academy are very pleased with the results. Through an improved menu offer and better portion sizes they have increased meal uptake from 225 meals per day to 267 meals. A new Grab & Go Deli range has recently been introduced to appeal to those pupils who prefer a packed lunch over the summer months. With control over the menu, the school can now easily change any items that they feel aren’t working and consult pupils and parents for ideas to trial.

CMC have been brilliant from the beginning, guiding with the transition of staff, creating menus and ensuring everything was in place and ready to go. Bringing a school's catering provision in house is not an easy task but CMC have been so supportive throughout the whole process it made everything run as smooth as it could. Working with them has been a fantastic experience, they have helped us transform our catering provision and it’s fantastic to see our children enjoy the variety of meals we now offer. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with them.

All client stories