National School Meals Week 2020
9th – 13th November

National School Meals Week (NSMW) has now been running for almost 30 years, and during what continues to be very strange times for us all, NSMW has added importance this year. Children are continuing to be away from the school environment due to isolation periods and, following the many months away from education in the spring/summer, many school caterers are still being asked to serve packed lunches in the classroom, the return to hot meals has been staggered across the country. Many schools continue to make different arrangements as everyone finds their way through what best works for them.

NSMW can help restart the conversation around the importance of nutritious hot school meals and hopefully support more children returning to school meals. An important point to make is that school catering staff, key workers in their own right, have been serving school food safely throughout the pandemic, including during the school holidays and, for that, the country as a whole is very grateful. They are at the heart of all that is happening now and we thank them for their flexibility, dedication and hard work. School caterers are best placed to feed children at lunchtimes. That’s why we have dedicated a day of NSMW to them.

NSMW offers flexibility for 2020

We understand it will not be possible for some school caterers to run the event starting the 9th November due to local lockdowns and Covid restrictions, so we are encouraging those who can’t, to choose a date that suits. The national communication for NSMW will still be centred around the week 9th -13th November, but the flexible approach around dates offers an option for those who wish to run a ‘rescheduled’’ NSMW. If you want copies of the resources without the dates on, please contact

Why you should support NSMW 2020 #Tasteforyourself:

NSMW has always been a great opportunity to promote school lunches and showcase the importance of school food to all stakeholders.

We have created 5 themes for caterers to choose which to get involved with – all popular, simple, appealing to students, and resources can be downloaded and personalised for free.
#Tasteforyourself, a social media campaign that parents, schools and caterers can get involved with to promote NSMW.
A ‘THANK YOU KEY WORKERS!’ day, an event where local MPs can be invited in to thank staff for all their efforts during the pandemic.
Support from Love British Food and Food for Life to promote British food and the importance of sustainability.

A week of fun activities for NSMW 2020

“LACA’s aim is to get people back enjoying hot school meals to fuel healthy minds and support local British Food”

We know that a healthy hot balanced meal supports learning and development, LACA have created 5 new fun and educational themes to encourage uptake. We are delighted to have the support of Food for Life and Love British Food this year. A range of fabulous FREE resources for caterers and schools to support the event, including posters, activities, press releases and menus will be available.

  • Monday, ‘Go meat free’. Choosing a vegetarian menu for the day not only has health benefits but also benefits the environment. We know many caterers are already promoting this once a week.
  • Tuesday ‘The School Meals Oscars’, a day of students’ favourite meals – where the menu items are the ‘star of the show’ – you can encourage parents and children to submit their favourite meal and dessert to be served at school.
  • Wednesday ‘National Roast Dinner Day’, The Soil Association – Food for Life are once again running this extremely popular event and we encourage school caterers to get behind it.
  • Thursday ‘The Great British School Lunch’ with support from ‘Love British Food’, we will encourage caterers to showcase a menu packed with British favourites, which have topped our polls so we know they will be popular. It’s so important to support our farmers, local businesses and reduce food miles to protect our environment.
  • Friday ‘THANK YOU KEY WORKERS!’ – We are asking all caterers to invite their local MP into a school for lunch where he/she will be asked to present a certificate to that catering team, representing all the catering staff in each constituency who have been heroes throughout the Covid pandemic.

Parents can get involved too…

Please ask at your child’s school to see what plans and activities they have for the week. We need your support too, so please encourage your children to stay for a week of great food and fun themes. Join in with our social media campaigns too. Keep up to date by visiting the site regularly.

Get involved on social media and in the press

Please follow all our social media platforms and keep posting to let us know what you will be doing to make NSMW 2020 a successful week across the country. The NSMW Team are always on hand for help and support. Don’t forget to tell the press what you are doing, visit the support material on the resources pages for press release templates you can edit to your events.

Be heard. Tell us what you are doing, share it on the social media platforms and copy in both LACA and NSMW at

Use the hashtags #NSMW2020 #LACA_UK #tasteforyourself


Hot’ober was created by LACA to encourage schools to allow students to get back to eating hot, nutritious meals at lunchtime in a safe environment as quickly as possible, so they enjoy the many benefits hot food provides. We know many retailers have benefited financially from the ‘voucher scheme’ and, as such, are continuing to heavily promote packed lunches, but there is no comparison to the nutritional benefits a child gets from a professionally prepared, high quality, hot school lunch.

We asked school caterers to liaise with schools with a view to serving hot meals from 1st October. The campaign was and is continuing to be a big success, recently the Minister for School Food Vicky Ford MP wrote to all schools and academies endorsing Hot’ober and urged them to get involved.

There are a wealth of Hot’ober resources now available on the resources page. October may be over but the messages around the campaign remain as important as ever. The resources can be supplied without the logo so you can continue to use as you encourage as many children as possible return to eating hot meals. Contact for resources, help and advice on continuing with your promotion.

Hotober and NSMW well received by all during the latest LACA Webinar

During the latest LACA webinar (21/10/20) both LACA initiatives were received with great enthusiasm by attendees, with many committed to take part in both events. You can view the presentation here, it will give you all the information you need to get involved if you haven’t already done so. The presentation gives you an in-depth look at each promotion, as well as all the media coverage and how you can get involved with the social media campaigns

The event wouldn’t be the success it is without your support, take a look at what we did last year during NSMW 2019 – including videos of each stage of the tour as well as a summary video of the week’s activities, click on the gallery.

30 School Meals Heroes

See LACAs 30 School Meals Heroes – read their story.

Jump in


Although NSMW’19 has come and gone, feel free to click on the button below to download and use a selection of materials that you may find of use throughout the year.



See pictures/videos of what happened during NSMW 2019 (and in previous years).

Latest News

Schools meals make BBC’s ‘One Show’ as they endeavour to serve hot meals during the pandemic

It was great to hear how primary and high schools are adapting their service to be able to serve hot meals under the current restrictions. The Catering staff are doing a marvellous job out there right now. We were delighted to see the efforts schools in Scotland were going to on the BBC’s ‘One Show’…

Read more