As a school we decided to change the way lunchtimes work in September 2018. We adopted a family dining service as an approach to improve the lunchtime experience for all our children.

Family dining allows children to eat in groups with children of all ages. It encourages older children to support younger children and so fosters positive relationships throughout the whole school. At The Howard School being part of a community is an integral part of our school. Belonging within a team and showing respect are values which we believe should be evident at all times of the day, including lunchtimes.

Instead of a canteen approach to serving dinners where children queue up for food, family dining allows children the opportunity to sit at a table straight away, to have food served by older children under the guidance of a staff member and to eat in a sociable way. The children also enjoy the opportunity to sit with staff occasionally to chat and share a tasty meal together. The children eat alongside children of different age groups making it a very civilized dining experience! The food is served to the table and then the older children (Family Dining Leaders) serve this onto plates. These children are trained how to serve food so they are always safe when doing this. Family dining provides the opportunity for all children to really get to know each other and also for us as a community to enjoy our lunch in a calm, pleasant and enjoyable way.

At the table, children have the hot meal alongside bread and salad which is available for all. Desserts are served after the hot meal and there is always a fruit option should children prefer this. We have a wonderful catering team who specialise in providing healthy, nutritious and delicious food with plenty of variety and all food allergies and dietary requirements are catered for. To help ensure the meal choices are what the children really enjoy we are establishing a team of children who will be given the opportunity to influence future menus with our catering team’s advice and support.

For those children who decide they would like packed lunches they also eat in the hall so that as a school community we enjoy a shared lunchtime experience.

If you are interested in your child having school dinners please contact the school office where they will be able to give you further information.