Future Provision of School Canteen Services
In August of 2018 the School Leadership Team and Education Board hosted a Parent Feedback Forum aiming to gain parent feedback on the ‘current and past practices at St Andrew’s along with your suggestions for future development.’ The evening provided an avenue for parents to provide feedback on the 5 Spheres of Schooling, incorporating Education in Faith, Teaching and Learning, Wellbeing, Organisational Structures and Community. Parents were asked to provide feedback on:
- What are we doing well?
- What can we improve on?
- What changes do you suggest to further develop our school?
Parents present at the forum would have been aware that the strongest feedback coming from parents related to the need for a review of the services provided through the school canteen. Below is a sample of the parent feedback coming from the parent forum:
‘Canteen - No more junk food’, ‘Healthier food options at the canteen’, ‘
Canteen - Food - Get rid of junk food, better healthier options’,
‘Tuckshop has too much junk food. Kids can buy whatever they want. Needs to be controlled better and healthier options’,
‘Canteen - Food choice improvements, healthier please’, ‘Limit amount of junk food per child, ie. only buy one super dooper at a time’, ‘Healthier options at Canteen’,
‘Canteen menu needs to be reviewed - less packaged/processed food, more freshly made food’, ‘Canteen menu needs a change’,
‘Canteen menu needs a big change - Healthy Food’.
With this feedback in mind School Leadership and the Education Board have spent the past 9 months looking at options on how we may best structure the setup of the School Canteen from the commencement of Term 1, 2020. The first and foremost priority of the Board, as supported by the parent feedback above, was to provide our children with a menu providing healthy dietary options. Other priorities included providing menu options catering for student dietary needs, including food intolerances, food items catering for cultural diversity, the option for online payments for canteen orders, an awareness of food packaging modeling environmental sustainability to our children, and an awareness of the financial cost of menu items.
Throughout the past 9 months the Board have been involved in robust discussions on a variety of issues including, school canteen food guidelines, a review of the current menu as offered to our students, sample menus of 14 schools throughout Melbourne, the management of student access to the canteen where current practice has our children able to access the canteen for 10 canteen opening times per week, the option of outsourcing the management of the provision of the canteen to outside agencies, and the option of providing online payments for school canteen purchases. All of these discussions focused on what would be the best fit for the future student population, and for the management of the canteen, at St Andrew’s for the next decade.
After much deliberation the Board has arrived at a future Canteen structure that would look to provide the following service delivery:
Morning Recess - Canteen open 3 days per week - Mon/Wed/Fri
Canteen recess menu to be reviewed by Education Board sub-committee to provide a healthy balanced morning tea option for all students. The morning canteen service will be independently hosted by the school as is the current practice. Throughout term 4 we will look to the employment of a canteen coordinator who will work 3 mornings per week. Time will be factored into this role to allow for preparation of fresh ‘home cooked’ items, along with a selection of packaged retail products.
Lunchtime - The canteen will not be open at lunchtimes. Lunches will be provided by an external provider. Classroom Cuisine is a locally owned external provider who will provide lunch services to St Andrew’s School. The Board elected to use Classroom Cuisine as an external provider primarily due to the healthy food options available through their online menu options. Classroom Cuisine presented to members of the Board the philosophy behind their approach to meal options and provided numerous food options to trial.
Meals are ordered and paid for through an online portal. Meals are available 4 days a week on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Orders can be made on days prior to or up to 8.30am on the day required. No orders will be processed after 8.30am. Meals are delivered to the school each day in classroom designated containers between 11am-12.30pm.
Parents can refer to the Classroom Cuisine website - https://classroomcuisine.com.au for full details of the online ordering process and meal options available.
Classroom Cuisine currently caters for over 120 schools in Melbourne. A number of principals were contacted to gain a reference on the service as provided by Classroom Cuisine.
Past and present students at St Andrew’s have been most fortunate to be provided with an outstanding canteen service over many years. The restructuring of the canteen should in no way be seen as a reflection on the work of both Nancy Daidone and Helen Morris. They have both over many years been a face of welcome and generosity in their respective roles. Both Nancy and Helen will remain in their current roles until the end of the school year. It is at that time that we will thank them fully for what they have offered to the St Andrew’s school community.
I thank the members of the Board for their consideration and feedback in the restructuring of the provision of canteen services.
Board members will remain active in their monitoring of the delivery of canteen services in 2020. The Board will continue to review the recess menu and the service as provided by Classroom Cuisine in 2020.
Parents will be fully advised in Term 4 of the process for the implementation of Classroom Cuisine partnership for 2020.