Healthy meals schools see Ofsted ratings rise

Primary schools in England that have participated in a Soil Association-led healthy eating project improved their inspection results and pupils’ behaviour, researchers say.

A study by the University of West England (UWE) analysed 48 of the primaries in the Food For Life Partnership (FFLP) scheme.

More than a third (36.2%) were judged outstanding by Ofsted, compared with 17.3% before they joined the FFLP.

Commenting on the findings, Mat Jones, senior lecturer in health and social policy at UWE, told the BBC that the project connected food issues across the whole school and out into the community.

“Evidence of positive outcomes — for health, environmental awareness, wider learning and parental involvement — highlights the potential of joined-up action in schools.”

The Soil Association-led scheme, funded through a £16.9M grant by the Big Lottery Fund, works with a network of schools and communities across England who are committed to transforming food culture by:

• offering fresh, seasonal, local and organic school meals

• reconnecting young people with where their food comes from

• inspiring families and communities to grow and cook food