FGSL News April 2015

30 Apr 2015

What the political parties say about school food in the run up to the General Election 2015

On 7 May, the British public will vote in the UK’s biggest election, determining the next Government. Food for Life Partnership have put together a handy overview of the political parties’ positions on school food in the run up to the General Election 2015


  • Take action to reduce childhood obesity and continue to promote clear food information.
  • Continuing with the existing UIFSM policy


  • Set maximum permitted levels of sugar, salt and fat in foods marketed substantially to children.
  • Introduce a legal guarantee for parents of primary school children to access wraparound childcare from 8am to 6pm through their local primary school.

Lib Dem:

  • Extend free school meals to all primary school children.
  • Introduce stricter marketing and advertising rules for junk foods.
  • Further invest in Defra’s Food Plan for Public sector procurement.

Green Party:

  • Extend VAT at standard rate to unhealthy food, and use proceeds to subsidise fresh fruit and veg by 1/3.
  • Extend free ’nutritious’ meals, (with GM free and local ingredients) to all school children.
  • Introduce a Hospital Food Plan.


  • Place a statutory duty on all primary schools to offer before and after-school care from 8am to 6pm during term time, with the option to extend this to all-day provision throughout the school holidays. These sessions will include breakfast and healthy snacks.


  • Expand current free school meal provision and look to work with local authorities to identify future steps to improve support for low income families to help meet the costs associated with school.
  • Offer 30 hours a week free nursery education for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds.
  • Make a long term commitment to tackling overweight and obesity, which concentrates on four key areas: food consumption; integrating physical activity into people’s everyday lives; recognising the importance of encouraging health behaviours in the early years; and encouraging employers to take a role in promoting health and wellbeing in and through the workplace.

Plaid Cymru

  • Plaid Cymru supports a tax on sugary drinks and will work with manufacturers to reduce sugar in food and drink.

Information gathered by the Food For Life Partnership. To read each party’s policy in full, please visit their respective websites.

27 April 2015

A good school food culture can help your Ofsted inspection

FoF_CookingBus_London_NicolePisani_PERMISSION-30_03_2015-LOW-70_FGSL news 2015A message to Food For Life Partnership registered schools

We know how important school food is to behaviour, wellbeing and attainment, and Ofsted has now recognised this as well. From September 2015, school food will contribute to how schools are rated by Ofsted in a new Common Inspection Framework.

“Inspectors will look for evidence of a culture or ethos of exercise and healthy eating throughout their entire inspection visit, in classrooms as well as the school canteen. They will look at the food on offer and visit the canteen to see the atmosphere and culture in the dining space and the effect it has on pupils’ behaviour.”

Schools working towards a Food for Life Partnership award will have already collected evidence to demonstrate positive food culture in action. In addition, we are further improving our awards service to help FFLP schools prepare for the healthy eating and school food elements of the new Ofsted Framework.
This is why we need your help. As our BIG Lottery funding comes to an end this summer we need your suggestions to make sure Food for Life continues to transform school food culture in line with the new Ofsted requirements.

Take part in our short survey
Help us to tailor our awards service to meet your needs. The first 100 schools to do so will be entered into a draw to win one of 10 FFLP goodie bags, and one lucky school will be randomly selected to win £200 to spend on cooking or growing equipment. Click here for survey.

Not working towards a Food For Life Partnership award?
The Food For Life Partnership awards are a fantastic way to demonstrate to the wider world that your school is doing fantastic work to provide healthy school meals, great lunchtimes and food education that has a positive impact on both pupils and the wider community. Our programme provides a framework to support you through any changes you may need to make to achieve this. It’s designed to be flexible so every school can approach it in the way that works best for them. Once you enrol – which is free to do if you’re a school in England – you’ll find a wealth of resources, support and guidance to help you along the way as well as access to our central advice line. If your school is in an area with a commissioned programme, you may also be able to access further training and support from a member of our local teams. Find out more.

27 April 2015

Win a visit from an organic gardening expert

FFLP signature_FGSL news 2015Achieve a Food for Life Partnership award before Friday 22nd May 2015 and your school could be the lucky winner of a visit from one of Garden Organic’s expert gardeners, helping you to bring your garden to life! We will also throw in some equipment to keep your garden in tip top condition. Find out here.

Free support to improve school meals
School meal seminars are being held around England to support schools to improve school meals, including support for schools serving universal infant free school meals. The one-day regional seminars bring together keynote speakers and a number of suppliers under one roof to offer advice and information about the free support services available. All of the seminars are free to attend and various dates are available throughout the country. Find out more here.

Grow your way to your next FFLP award!
Spurred on by the better weather and with lots of advice from our partners Garden Organic and the Soil Association, we have been busy getting our gardens ready for the growing season and supporting all of our FFLP schools to do the same. So whether you are growing in small spaces or confused by composting, we can help you to get your gardens blooming this summer. Visit our website to get started.

Open Farm School Days – June 2015
Open Farm School Days is a nationwide initiative to get children out onto farms, discovering where their food comes from. Throughout June, farms will be opening their gates and hosting educational visits for children to learn about how their food is grown and meet the farmers who grow it.Open Farm School Days run alongside the annual Open Farm Sunday on 7th June 2015, and a number of farmers do both! It is free of charge to participate in Open Farm School Days and Open Farm Sunday. Farms in the South East.

27 April 2015

Dream set to come true for Berrymede Junior School in Ealing

Trees for Cities
Photo: Trees for Cities.

Berrymede Junior School in Ealing, west London has been announced as the first of 10 Edible Playground flagship schools to receive support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund, which has awarded £249,180 in funding.Edible Playgrounds, a programme led by Trees for Cities, will completely transform an area of their school grounds into a functional food-growing space.  Thanks to this support from players, the Edible Playground at Berrymede will have raised beds with herbs, salads, vegetables, fruit trees, an outdoor classroom, interpretation boards, composting facilities, irrigation and a greenhouse. The construction of the Edible Playground is due to take place in the summer followed by lots of planting!  Trees for Cities will provide a year of support to help Berrymede use their Edible Playground for year-round growing and teaching.

The pupils will enjoy hands-on cooking lessons from Chefs Adopt a School and have access to food education programmes outside the school gate via charity School Food Matter’s Membership for Schools. School Food Matters will also support Berrymede to achieve their first Food for Life Award.

Many pupils don’t have access to good quality outside areas in which to learn and play. Creating a safe, fun and exciting Edible Playground where they can take lessons in subjects such as food growing, science and maths will make a massive impact. The project will encourage children to be active outside, to learn outside the classroom, to think about where food comes from, and to make healthier eating choices.

Pupils at Berrymede are enthused by the project.  A Year 5 pupil from the school said: “I’m really excited about all the new growing places in the school and all the vegetables and fruits we will have.  But mostly I’m excited about eating them! We have already started planning and planting seeds”.

Sharon Johnson, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities said:  “With increasing concerns around food poverty and malnutrition, the next generation is in danger of losing touch with nature and not knowing why a healthy diet is important.  Edible Playgrounds show children how rewarding it is to spend time outdoors and get them excited about where their food comes from.  With 37 per cent of children between ages of 5 – 12 not eating enough every day and 20 per cent obese on leaving primary school, more and more schools are now educating their children on how food is grown and on making healthy eating choices”.
Pupils’ health and well-being is a key focus of the school. The Edible Playground complements recent improvements to the dining hall experience for pupils, and will become an integral part of this initiative- helping to drive healthy eating and healthy living.  Trees for Cities and Berrymede hope to inspire similar Edible Playgrounds projects in other schools in the area.

Lubna Khan, Head Teacher at Berrymede Junior School said: “We strive to provide a rich and stimulating learning environment, where our children thrive and subsequently leave, as well equipped young citizens ready for the next phase of their lives.  We include in our provision, knowledge and understanding about how well-being, good health and fitness underpin success.  A significant element of this is healthy eating and knowledge about food and agriculture, even if it is on a small scale!  This project has already initiated an excitement about planting, growing and a real appreciation of nature and its beauty”.


For more information
please contact: Samantha Lagan – 020 7820 4426 / 07825541130
Images available upon request

Notes to Editors
Edible Playground project, funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, is a partnership between Trees for Cities, School Food Matters and Chefs Adopt a School to create 10 flagship Edible Playgrounds in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Reading.

Edible Playgrounds (EP), a programme led by Trees for Cities, transform under-used school grounds into interactive and engaging food growing spaces.  EP provide children living in urban areas the opportunity to grow, harvest and eat fruit and vegetables, and to integrate the outdoor learning into the school curriculum.  EP design and construct the food growing spaces and support the school to utilize the outdoor space as a learning resource.  The gardens provide children key skills and knowledge of how to grow food and eat healthily, helping to address food poverty and prevent childhood obesity.  It also provides children the opportunity to be active outside, which benefits children’s health and education. An Edible Playground typically includes raised beds, a greenhouse, wormery, fruit trees and an irrigation system.  www.edibleplaygrounds.org

Trees for Cities (TfC) is an independent charity, which inspires people to plant and love trees worldwide. Set up in 1993, Trees for Cities’ aim is to create social cohesion and beautify our cities through tree planting, community-led design, education and training initiatives in urban areas that need it most.
We manage projects across the UK as well as internationally in cities such as Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Ica.  Our work supports urban tree planting initiatives particularly in deprived areas of cities.
Community-led design is an integral part of our landscaping projects. Involving local residents, schools and community groups helps ensure the sustainability of green spaces. www.treesforcities.org

School Food Matters is a registered charity based in London that campaigns for fresh sustainable food in schools and for children to understand where their food comes from.  To achieve this SFM listens to schools, parents and children. Together they urge local authorities to improve school meals and to support food education through cooking, growing and links with local farms.  http://www.schoolfoodmatters.com/

Chefs Adopt a School founded in 1990 by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Adopt a School, which includes Chefs Adopt a School and Hospitality in Schools, is a national charity which teaches children – in a holistic way – about food, cookery food provenance, food growing, healthy eating, nutrition, hygiene, table etiquette and the importance of eating together.  Professional Chefs deliver sessions in the classroom which range in content from the four tastes and the five senses, to advanced practical cookery. The charity reaches over 20,000 children every year and we work with primary schools, secondary schools, SEN schools, hospital schools, pupil referral units, sports centres and food festivals.  We believe that every child should be taught about the importance of food and the significance it has in our lives.  http://www.chefsadoptaschool.org.uk/

About People’s Postcode Lottery

  • People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery. Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes while raising money for charities and good causes across Great Britain and globally
  • People’s Postcode Lottery is an External Lottery Manager and manages multiple society lotteries promoted by different causes supporting a range of good causes. For details on which society lottery is running each week, visit www.postcodelottery.co.uk/society
  • Postcode Lottery Limited is regulated by the Gambling Commission under certificate nr 829-N-102511-009 and 829-R-102513-008. Registered office: Titchfield House, 69/85 Tabernacle Street, London, EC2A 4RR
  • People’s Postcode Lottery players support the following Trusts – Postcode African Trust, Postcode Animal Trust, Postcode Care Trust, Postcode Children Trust, Postcode Community Trust, Postcode Culture Trust, Postcode Dream Trust, Postcode Global Trust, Postcode Green Trust, Postcode Heroes Trust, Postcode Planet Trust, People’s Postcode Trust and Postcode Sport Trust. These Trusts are funded entirely by players and support a variety of good causes. For further information on each charity, visit: www.postcodelottery.co.uk/charities
  • 50p from every £2 ticket goes to good causes and players have raised over £66.4 Million for good causes across the Great Britain and globally
  • There are five draws a month with prizes every day and each ticket costs £2 – paid monthly in advance by direct debit. For further prize information, visit: www.postcodelottery.co.uk/prizes
  • Maximum amount a single ticket can win is 10% of the draw revenue to a maximum of £400,000
  • Players can sign up by Direct Debit, credit card or PayPal online at www.postcodelottery.co.uk, or by calling 0808 10-9-8-7-6-5.

14 April 2015

New London School’s Garden Competition launches for Grow Your Own Picnic 2015

The Food Growing Schools: London partnership, led

by Garden Organic, has launched Grow Your Own Picnic 2015 for the second year with a fantastic, new Grow Your Own School Garden Competition – and this time schools don’t need to be garden experts to win!

Judged by BBC TV Gardener, Chris Collins, the competition is aimed at London schools that aren’t yet growing food. First prize includes  £500 worth of gardening equipment, half a day with a garden expert, a corporate garden volunteer day at the school, and a professional case study about the school’s new garden journey. “London is such an inspiring place to be right now. More and more schools are picking up trowels, planting seeds and proving that you don’t need to be an expert gardener to grow your own food. Enthusiasm, ideas, community and a willingness to learn is all you need. And the summer is the perfect time to get started”, Chris Collins, BBC TV Gardener. Eligible schools can enter by setting up a school gardening task group, planning a new school growing space, identifying local school community support and making a gardening equipment wishlist. There will also be prizes awarded for second and third place.

Grow Your Own Picnic 2015 takes place during the Summer 2015 Term, and is a celebration of summer, sunshine and food growing in London schools. Schools can download a free 30-page schools activity pack, jammed full of Grow Your Own Picnic 2015 growing and cooking activities, learning opportunities, competitions, events and freebies. As the grand finale, schools can then share a delicious home-grown lunch with students, staff and the local community – on their very own Grow Your Own Picnic Day to end the Summer Term!

Grow Your Own Picnic 2015 celebrations also include the Schools Marketplace at City Hall on Thursday 9th July 2015, organised by Capital Growth for the Food Growing Schools: London partnership. Taking place for the second year running, enterprising London schools can plan for a bumper crop and sell their school-grown picnic produce to 600 staff based at City Hall, and to members of the public. In 2014 nine lucky London schools even sold produce to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny too! Capital Growth have also launched a Grow Your Own Picnic 2015 Photography Competition on behalf of the Food Growing Schools: London partnership. The winning photographs will be displayed at City Hall during the Schools Marketplace.

To help London schools get started, The Food Growing Schools: London partnership schools can register for the Get ready to Grow Your Own Picnic workshoptaking place on 22nd April 2015, at The Regent’s Park Allotment, NW1 4NR.  School food growing workshops also take place throughout the school year, run by members of the Food Growing Schools: London partnership.
For more information about all Grow Your Own Picnic 2015 activities visit: www.foodgrowingschools.org/events/picnic
Press Coverage: Kitchen Garden Magazine

8 April 2015

RHS to invest over 7 million in home grown horticultural talent to support British Horticulture

  • Survey in 2013 found more than 70% of horticultural businesses cannot fill skilled vacancies, nearly 20% are forced to recruit overseas and almost 70% say career entrants are inadequately prepared for work.*
  • As part of the on-going industry-wide campaign, Horticulture Matters, to close the green skills gap, the RHS will invest £3.2 million to increase its horticultural apprentice and training positions from 46 to 76 by 2025.
  • The RHS also commits to invest a further £4.1 million in horticultural salaries by 2025. The pay increases will be permanent, continuing beyond 2025, to better reflect the skills and knowledge of horticulturally trained employees.

The dwindling number of people in the UK with horticultural skills represents a major challenge to the horticultural industry in trying to meet the growing demands placed on it. As part of the industry-wide ‘Horticulture Matters’ campaign to raise the profile of careers in horticulture, the RHS has committed to invest £7.3 million by 2025 into horticultural talent to help support the future of British Horticulture.
RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, says: “We’re in the fourth year of the industry’s Horticulture Matters campaign, to raise the profile of careers in horticulture and close the critical green skills gap, which threatens the future of British Horticulture.

“We have just completed a horticultural salary review to ensure we recognise the specialist skills and knowledge that professional horticulturists and horticultural scientists need to do their jobs, at the same time as making sure we’re building horticultural salaries in a sustainable way, both for ourselves and for the wider industry.

“The key issue that we, as an industry, need to resolve is that people still aren’t aware of the breadth of exciting and fulfilling career opportunities that the wonderful world of horticulture has to offer. We also need to continue getting better at going out into secondary schools and reaching wider audiences to raise the profile of careers in horticulture and to highlight career progression opportunities.”
The gardening charity has committed to increase the number of its horticultural apprentice and training positions from 46 to 76 over the next ten years to encourage and support more people to enter the horticultural industry and to provide more opportunities for them within it. This will see the charity investing a further £3.2 million into these new horticultural roles to help kick-start people’s employment in horticulture, a career to be proud of.

The RHS conducted its review** into horticultural salaries across the industry to help the charity determine how it might advance its horticultural salaries at a sustainable rate. The RHS has now committed to ensuring that all professionally qualified RHS horticulturists and horticultural scientists are paid at the upper end of the horticultural industry pay scale, and has committed to invest an additional £4.1 million by 2025 to achieve this.

In conducting this review, the RHS focused on areas where there is a skills gap and where the industry struggles to recruit trained horticulturists. Curatorial and horticultural employees, including apprentices and trainees, and horticultural scientists will be the main beneficiaries of the increase with the pay progression ranges for each role increasing by between 5% and 10%, which is in addition to the Society’s standard 2% pay increase for 2015. All pay increases will be permanent.
Sue Biggs, continues: “This pay review reflects the value we place on our professional horticulturists and will take our pay levels from the average industry rate to the upper end of the horticultural pay scale. A Level 1 horticulturist’s starting salary will now be about £19,000 and a Garden Manager will be able to earn up to £40,000.

“As part of this initiative, we have also been able to increase our starting salaries for apprentices and trainees to £14,000 and £15,456 respectively, and will be creating 30 more of these positions too. We have introduced new pay progression scales into our Science division so that our horticultural scientists can follow a career path from entry level at £18,360 up to £45,900 and beyond for senior management positions.

“We’ll now be increasing our work to promote and raise the profile of the breadth of fantastic career opportunities in this industry to teachers, business, industry, career changers and the wider public to continue our efforts to help close the skills gap.”

Alan Titchmarsh, who has supported and helped drive Horticulture Matters from the start, says: “While it’s not just the salary that attracts a person to a job, nor makes them stay, this acknowledgement of the importance of adequately rewarding horticultural skills demonstrates that the RHS is committed to playing its part in recognising the often underestimated value of horticulturists. I look forward to more initiatives coming from the RHS and the wider industry to continue the work of Horticulture Matters and raise the profile of careers that are currently undervalued for the skills they require and for the immense positive difference they make.”

For full press release with notes to editors visit: RHS

2 April 2015

Capital Growth is recruiting

Capital Growth logo

Capital Growth is recruiting a part-time Project Officer to join the team at Sustain, based in London.

We are looking for an organised and creative person to join our successful project team, developing and running an exciting programme of activities that support new and existing food growing projects in London to provide skills, jobs, health and education – and of course great food – for Londoners.

You will work alongside others in the team and with our partners including Food Growing Schools London.  You need to have ideas, be able to development and implement them, know about food growing in London and be fantastic at working with other people (as well as the usual stuff which you can find in the job description).

The role is 3 days per week, with potential for more and the starting salary is £35, 160 (pro rata – which means you will earn £21,096).  You also get to be part of a fantastic organisation, working towards our goal of a better food and farming system.

Interested? Find out more on the Sustain website.

Find out about Capital Growth here.

2 April 2015

Trees for Cities joins London Schools Partnership

Hitherfield Primary Edible Playground. Trees for Cities & www.perfecteventservices_web.jpg
Hitherfield Primary school planting an apple cordon in their Edible Playground with Trees for Cities. Photo: Perfect Event Services.

We are pleased to announce that Trees for Cities have joined the Food Growing Schools: London partnership, bringing with them over 10 years’ experience and technical expertise in the delivery of Edible Playgrounds.

Set up as Trees for London in 1993, Trees for Cities’ aim is to create social cohesion and beautify our cities through tree planting, community-led design, education and training initiatives in urban areas that need it most, in the UK and overseas. Trees for Cities has been working in schools to plant fruit and nut trees since 2000. In response to increasing need and demand for food-growing from schools, Trees for Cities developed Edible Playgrounds, and launched with a flagship project at Rotherfield Primary School in Islington.

We are delighted to have been invited to join the Food Growing Schools: London project. Trees for Cities is a hands-on, delivery organisation and we hope to contribute some practical expertise through our Edible Playgrounds programme.” Kate Sheldon, Development Director. Trees for Cities

What are Edible Playgrounds?
Through the project, outdoor spaces in the grounds of inner city schools are transformed into an effective learning resource – teaching children to grow, harvest and cook healthy food. It is a multi-functional project, which addresses many core issues facing children today – obesity, food poverty, access to nature. Edible Playgrounds has immediate outcomes in changing children’s attitude towards healthy eating, gets children excited about eating fresh fruit and vegetables and encourages active outdoor learning. Over time, patterns of behaviour learned at a young age become embedded with long-term impact on health and attainment.

Edible Playgrounds has recently been awarded the Dream Fund 2015 to create 10 Flagship Edible Playgrounds over 2 years in London, Reading, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham in collaboration with School Food Matters and Chefs Adopt a School.

Edible Playgrounds in London schools
Trees for Cities plans to create 8-10 Edible Playgrounds in primary schools across London this year. They are seeking schools where the Edible Playground will have significant impact, for example with free school meal uptake of at least 30%, and those who are ambitious to be a hub for their borough by sharing their Edible Playground as a resource for training with other schools.  An Edible Playground project at your school comprises of initial design and consultation, construction and planting, and capacity building support for a year after creation including teacher training and access to resources. This support will ensure that the Edible Playground is embedded into your school curriculum and that teachers have the confidence to teach through gardening all year round. Interested London schools should to be willing to raise approximately half the cost of the build, which is match funded by Trees for Cities.
Edible Playgrounds in London Schools

Find out about Edible Playgrounds in London schools near you:

Hitherfield Primary School                      Rotherfield Primary School
Featherstone High School                      Havelock Primary School
Manorfield Primary School                     St Paul’s Primary School


Find out about all the Food Growing Schools: London partners.


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