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School meals rule! More and more children choose healthy school lunches

Published: 05 April 2012

More children in Gloucestershire are choosing to eat healthy school meals in Gloucestershire.

There has been a 3.61% increase in 2011-12 from the previous year in the county, with 36% of primary school pupils now choosing a healthy school lunch, up from 34.1%. That's an increase from just over 9000 meals a day to more than 9680 now.

There have been big improvements in quality since 2009, when Edwards and Ward were awarded a contract by the county council to provide meals for 167 primary and special schools in the county. More schools have since come on board with Cam Hopton Primary the latest to join the contract in January.

Young people in Gloucestershire have told us in surveys that they think the meals are much better and they like the taste. An exciting new menu has just been launched.

Last year, Edwards & Ward scooped the Food For Life Partnership's Gold Award. The caterer was the first in the UK to be recognised as providing freshly prepared, locally sourced, organic, free range and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) meals to an entire county group.

School meals are a great way to ensure your child gets a healthy, tasty meal at lunchtime. Meals are nutritionally balanced and include locally sourced fresh vegetables and meat.

Cllr Jackie Hall, Gloucestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "Our contract with Edwards and Ward has improved the quality of school meals and this is reflected in their rising popularity, with more and more pupils and parents choosing to have school lunches."

Jane Woolf from Edwards and Ward, said: "Edwards and Ward are working really hard in conjunction with Gloucestershire County Council to continue to deliver quality and service for primary schools in Gloucestershire. 

"This hard work is reflected in the continued increase in healthy meal uptake and the fact that more and more schools are expressing an interest in joining the contract." 

The county council is encouraging all parents to apply for a school meal if they are eligible. The Government has said that schools will get an extra £600 for every pupil eligible for free school meals this year, which could make a real difference to a school.

To download an application form to apply for free school meals and/or a leaflet on eligibility, go to www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals You can also pick up one of these forms at your child's school.