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Food in academy schools

Studies and analysis exploring food provision by academy schools in England

May 2012:

Some academy schools are doing well at providing food and drink that complies with many of the national school food standards. Others are doing less well, with children being exposed regularly to foods high in fat, sugar and salt which the standards were specifically designed to reduce or eliminate.

We've been gathering evidence about the approach taken by academy schools to the food they serve to children and young people during the school day:

  • Telephone interviews with a national sample of 100 academy head teachers, principals, or business managers to explore issues about food provision, the pressures on academies relating to food, and the extent to which academies are able to meet the national school food standards standards
  • Additional analysis of the Trust’s Secondary School Food Survey, which was carried out in 2010-2011. This summarizes differences in food served and the consumption of food and drink by pupils between schools in the sample with academy status or which have since converted, and non-academy schools within the sample
  • A qualitative study in 12 academies and one free school, commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE), with the aim of obtaining an overview of the strategies and management objectives and practices relating to the provision of food and drink in academies. Fieldwork was completed in March 2012 and the report submitted to DfE in May 2012
  • Responses to a letter to more than 1500 existing academies in January 2012, inviting them to indicate whether or not they were committed to following the national school food standards. This is the list of those schools which responded to say yes.

This summary also makes reference to new analysis of National Child Measurement Programme data, to assess the impact of changes in school food on growth patterns in children.

Contact details: Dr. Michael Nelson.