Whole School Food Policy
Scoil Naomh Micheál
Scoil Naomh Micheál is dedicated to providing an environment that promotes healthy eating and enabling students to make informed choices. As educators, we are very conscious of the importance of children’s diet and how it can impact on their health, concentration, development and well-being. As children spend a significant part of their day in school, it is important that we encourage and facilitate them to eat healthily during that time.
A nutritious diet is especially important during earlier years when children are growing rapidly and need constant supplies of essential nutrients. In addition, good eating habits are formed early in life at a time when parents have most control over what their children eat. By the time children reach adolescence, their taste preferences may be established and it is more difficult to change eating patterns. A Whole School Food Policy supports the role of parents in promoting a healthy lifestyle for their child.
A representative group of parents, staff and pupils have taken part in an audit of current practice in relation to food in school, which lead to a review of our existing policy. The successful implementation of this policy is an important step in promoting a healthy lifestyle for our children.
HPS Team – Judy O’ Brien, Michelle Murphy, Michelle McNamara, Catherine Docherty , Olivia McNally, Sarah O’Sullivan, Abbie Garde
Board of Management
Mr Patrick O’Connell
The aims for our Whole School Food Policy in Scoil Naomh Micheál are:
- To take a whole school approach (staff, parents, children) to food in school in relation to the
- environment (social and physical)
- curriculum and learning
- policy and planning
- partnerships with the school community
- To ensure everyone understands and supports healthy eating for living and learning.
- To encourage the whole school community to make healthy food choices.
These aims will be addressed through the following objectives in the following key areas of the HPS.
Curriculum and Learning
- Through the Social, Personal and Health Education Programme (SPHE), Physical Education and Science curriculum, Scoil Naomh Micheál will promote lifelong healthy eating and positive lifestyle choices.
- A Healthy Eating Drive (one week focus with two reinforced) will take place each term to focus the school community on our Whole School Food Policy. A range of events decided upon by the Health Promoting Schools Team will take place during this week.
- An appendix of curriculum resources on nutrition for SPHE and the HPS are attached to this policy.
- Parents will be supported through a Healthy Eating Information Session each year and relevant materials will be communicated and updated via the school website. Any HPS resources for parents will be sent home with the children.
Physical and Social Environment
- All children bring packed lunches to school. Children eat in their classroom for at least five minutes at small break and ten minutes at lunch time. Swapping / sharing any lunch items is strictly prohibited.
- Drinking water is encouraged throughout the school day. Drinking cold milk is facilitated through the EU School Milk Scheme. Juice and fizzy drinks are not allowed due to high sugar content.
- Lunches should contain a selection of foods from the key food groups i.e. carbohydrates (e.g. pasta), fruit and vegetables and dairy. Food items at the top of the food pyramid (i.e. those high in sugar) are highly discouraged in school. See Appendix 1 for a list of foods we specifically discourage in Scoil Naomh Micheál.
- While food rewards will be kept to a minimum, teachers may choose to give a food reward in certain exceptional circumstances. Alternatives to food rewards include social rewards (e.g. praise, attention), recognition (certificate, sticker, assembly announcement, note in school journal etc.), privileges, class rewards, stationary, toys/trinkets etc.
- During school celebrations, including birthdays, healthy choices are encouraged. Bringing in cakes is discouraged. It is important that the principles of this policy are upheld during all school outings including sports events and school tours and trips.
- In the event of food allergies, certain foods will be prohibited for health and safety reasons.
Policy and Planning
- This Whole School Food Policy will be displayed in the school and on the school website.
- The policy will be communicated with parents at school open evening and parent induction evening.
- Children will be educated about healthy food, nutrition and lifestyle choices.
- The BOM will be updated on HPS events during the school year.
- We will work with and communicate closely with the Parents Association of Scoil Naomh Micheál during school led events.
- We will notify parents / staff of the policy and welcome input at both draft and evaluation stages.
- We will provide healthy eating materials / resources as appropriate.
- We will maintain positive partnerships with Supervalu and EU school milk scheme to facilitate nutrition education and healthy food choices.
- Drinking water is available to all children.
The policy is being implemented through the following key measures:
- Healthy Eating covered as per SPHE curriculum
- Staff members encouraging healthy eating choice on an ongoing basis
- Project Spraoi nutrition sessions
- Healthy Eating information evening for parents
- Staff attending staff up-skilling / training as appropriate
The policy will be implemented as follows:
Staff will educate and facilitate opportunities for detailed learning on healthy eating and nutrition under the SPHE curriculum. All staff will encourage and remind pupils to make positive healthy eating choices. Staff will model their own healthy eating wherever possible.
Parents will be mindful of the Whole School Food Policy of Scoil Naomh Micheál when preparing children’s lunches. Children will be provided with a balanced, nutritious lunch. Foods high in sugar, salt and fat will not be part of lunches. A lunch ideas suggestions tab will be posted on the school website to help with ideas. Communication will be made with parents of children who forget their lunch.
Pupils will learn about the benefits of making healthy food choices.
Healthy Eating Focus week each term with special events.
Healthy Eating Information evening for parents
Updated Healthy Eating section on the school website
The Whole School Food Policy will be implemented throughout the whole school community which includes staff, parents, children and ancillary staff.
It is expected that this new Whole School food policy will be fully implemented from January 2017. The policy will be monitored by the HPS team and will be evaluated and updated as necessary in January 2018.
All families are asked to cooperate fully with the implementation of this policy.
Appendix 1: Scoil Naomh Micheál Healthy Food Options
|Foods not allowed||Foods to be avoided||Foods Encouraged|
Cakes (includes home baked cakes)
|Fruit (apple, orange, banana, grapes, plum, pear, peach etc.)
Vegetable (carrot / celery sticks with humus, selection of pepper slices, cherry tomatoes etc.)
|Kellogg’s fruit winders
|Muller Corner Yoghurt
|Natural / Greek style yoghurt|
|Sandwich fillings: Nutulla & peanut butter (H&S reasons)||Jam
|Meat – chicken, beef, ham, pork
Fish- tuna, salmon
|White bread||Wholemeal bread, bagels, brown rolls
Wholemeal pitta breads
|Cheeses slices / cubes, dippers, Babybels