Two Spalding schools have joined five others in the county in opening new, stand-alone, fully-equipped kitchen pods to provide hot meals for pupils.
Lincolnshire County Council has extended its school meal provision having won a significant £1.2m bid from the Department for Education under the universal free school meals programme.
St Paul’s Community Primary and Nursery and St John the Baptist Primary are the schools to have benefited in south Lincolnshire, with Long Sutton Primary also having a new, purpose-built kitchen due to open early next year.
Coun Patricia Bradwell, executive councillor for children’s services, said: “We are delighted to have secured significant funding from the DfE to make these new school kitchens a reality.
“This means over 2,500 Lincolnshire pupils now have access to nutritious hot meals which are cooked on site – some of the new kitchen pods are also providing meals for neighbouring schools.
“As well as the health benefits to children from enjoying hot lunches at school, studies suggest that young children eating a healthy meal together can improve their development and social skills, increase concentration and prepare them better to learn.”
The schools are now enjoying providing their children with exciting new menus and food education linked to growing and cooking. Hot meal take up is increasing as children tuck in and enjoy their balanced wholesome meals.
Paul Reid, head teacher at St John the Baptist CE Primary School, Spalding, said: “We are delighted to have a school kitchen on site at St John’s. After just a few weeks it is already having a very positive impact as children much prefer the variety and freshness of meals cooked on the premises by our own cook.
“The new school kitchen has been the catalyst for the school engaging in a number of projects that will support children’s learning about growing and cooking food, including the development of a school allotment. We hope that these will help youngsters develop an understanding about the food they eat and where it comes from.”