Support for Hot’ober and NSMW 2020 from the Minister for School Food

We were so pleased that the Minister for School Food Vicky Ford MP has become a supporter of our campaigns. In a recent letter sent to every head teacher in schools and academies, she urged schools to get involved. As well as thanking them for their efforts during the pandemic, she offered advice to ensure as many children as possible return to hot school meals using our campaigns. Here is an extract from the letter sent out this week.

Hot Meals

The vast majority of children are in school and we understand schools may be finding it hard at this time to provide children with their usual hot meal at lunchtime especially given the need to minimise contact between bubbles. Furthermore, higher numbers of parents may also be sending their children in with a packed lunch. Schools have flexibility within the School Food Standards around which products/foods they serve across the school week. There is no legal requirement that meals should be hot, however we do encourage this and ask all schools to routinely be offering a varied hot meal option to pupils. It is much harder to comply with the School Food Standards through the provision of cold food alone. I would urge you all to work closely with your caterers to make every effort to ensure children are receiving a healthy and nutritious hot meal at school. Once the pandemic is over, I would encourage you to consider introducing measures such as ‘family dining’ which can help instil good eating habits, if facilities allow.

I’d like to draw your attention to a couple of school food campaigns that you may wish to engage with your catering team on:

  • October saw the launch of Hot’ober, led by LACA, (the organisation representing school food providers) which aims to encourage schools and pupils to get back to eating a hot and nutritious school lunch. There are a range of resources to support this here:
  • The annual National School Meals week is taking place from 9th-13th November. The aim of this campaign is to highlight the importance and benefits of school meals and to champion and celebrate school caterers. It includes a Taste for Yourself campaign to encourage pupils and parents back to school meals. Further information on NSMW can be found on LACA’s website:

Thank you again for your commitment in supporting children to return to school safely and in working with your kitchen and catering staff to provide healthy, nutritious meals and ensure School Food Standards are upheld throughout the whole school day.

Vicky Ford MP

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for
Children and Families

Jo Churchill MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for
Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care


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