Children from Charlton Manor primary school achieved the Healthy Schools London Gold status in 2014. The Healthy Schools scheme supports and recognises schools’ achievements in pupil health and wellbeing. The award is based on the high quality of locally sourced ingredients used in school meals, a ‘from farm to fork’ approach to food and a new and improved dinner service.
The newly refurbished dinner centre, Charlton Manor Restaurant, has a variety of freshly prepared healthy food, encouraging children to try new foods, serving homemade soup made from the vegetables that are grown in the school’s secret garden. It received the Food for Life Gold Award, which guarantees that meals are freshly prepared using quality, environmentally-sustainable and seasonal ingredients, and that schools provide healthy school meals and food education.
The school introduced cooking to its curriculum with a dedicated Teaching Kitchen. This teaches children about growing and cooking fresh produce and making healthy food choices. A full-time gardener and two chefs work with the children and parents to support them in understanding the importance of nutrition. The school now has its own YouTube channel where children are filmed cooking recipes in class, which can be viewed and repeated by pupils at home. There’s also an allotment at a local city farm and the school leases a large plot for a community garden so that other schools can benefit.
Charlton Manor’s healthy dinner club allows parents to study with their children and then cook and eat a nutritious meal in the teaching kitchen. The school encourages food diaries and has an after-school gardening club as well as Saturday morning and an after school café run by pupils selling locally- sourced healthy meals.
The school also runs a yearly food conference, with workshops on how to teach maths and English through food growing and cooking. Every Friday the school invites 4 vulnerable elderly residents for lunch with the children.