What is the lunchtime routine?
Each morning the children will be told the meal choices available for that day and make a choice as to what they want to eat. They will be given a coloured wrist-band which corresponds to the choice they have made. At around 12 o’clock, the children are taken to where they will eat their lunch by either the class teacher or teaching assistant. In Reception, the teacher or teaching assistant will often stay with the children to help them make. Children will line up to choose their pudding. They can then choose some food from the salad bar in addition to their main meal. After the children have finished their meal they sit on benches at the side of the hall and are then escorted in groups to the KS1 playground by a lunchtime supervisor.
How is this different during the phase-in period for Reception children?
During transition mornings, our lead lunchtime supervisor and the class lunchtime supervisors introduce themselves to the children so that they become familiar with them. On their first full day, the children will have their hot/cold dinner as they would do normally. Mrs Anjum (our lead lunchtime supervisor) and the class lunchtime supervisors will go down prior to the lunchtime and go through the routine with the children. We try to ensure that we have extra lunchtime staff on these days to support our younger children during this transition phase.
Where do they eat for hot lunches and sandwiches?
From September 2015, children in Reception will eat their school lunches in the Lower School Hall. Children in Years 1 and 2 will eat their lunch in the Upper School Hall. Note that we are hoping to also serve Year 1 their lunch in the Lower School Hall later in the Autumn term.
What are the arrangements for lunchtime supervision?
At the beginning of the year, children get to meet their designated lunchtime supervisors. We also display posters in classrooms with photos and names of the lunchtime supervisors. In Reception and Key Stage 1 there is one lunchtime supervisor per class and in Key Stage 2 there is one per year. Mrs Anjum is our lead lunchtime supervisor and Mrs Woodcock is the member of the senior leadership team with responsibility for lunchtime supervisors.
What happens if my child is not keen on the choices of food for that day?
We do not force children to eat their food, however we do encourage children to try all the food on their plate. Children put up their hand when they have eaten as much as they want of their main course and if they have eaten a reasonable amount they may then start their pudding. On a daily basis the large majority of children do not completely clear their plates, so please be reassured that we do not make them eat everything. There are jugs of water on the tables and children are encouraged to have a drink with their meal so that they do not become dehydrated. All menus are available on the school or Solihull Council websites so if you find there is a day where none of the hot dinners appeal to your child, it might be worthwhile choosing a cold option for that day of the week.
What choices do they have and how are the children told about these?
Every day there is a choice of two main courses and a vegetarian option. Children can also opt for a sandwich/wrap/baguette with a variety of fillings. Additionally, there is a salad bar available each day and a choice of breads. For pudding there is also a choice and each day fresh fruit is available. We do not serve fizzy drinks and serve fried foods no more than twice a week. The class teachers will explain what options are available each morning.
Would my child have to remember which lunch option they had chosen?
The coloured wrist-bands worn by the children indicate which choice they have made each morning. The kitchen staff will know what each wrist-band means.
How I can I help them make choices for lunchtime, at home and what’s on the menu?
All menus are available on the Solihull Council website. You can also monitor your child’s selection for the day via ParentPay. You might want to talk to them about the different choices and if your child likes food when described in a certain way then this would be a good opportunity to do so.
What about allergies and dietary requirements?
If your child has any allergies or dietary requirements it is vital that you inform the school so that we are aware of them. Reception and Key Stage 1 children who have hot dinners wear lanyards that state any dietary requirements they have e.g. vegetarian or egg allergy so that staff are aware. (You might be surprised at the number of children who insist they don’t have a dietary requirement just because they like the look of the dish on that day!) Dietary requirements are also listed on dinner registers.
If my child is a slow eater, what happens?
We do not rush the children with their lunches, so children stay in the hall until they have finished their meals. If a child is exceptionally slow in eating their lunch this does mean that a large proportion of their lunchtime will be spent in the hall and staff will encourage them to eat up so that they can go and play with their friends. When they have finished they will join the next group of children to be led onto the playground.
What happens if my child finds the playground a little overwhelming?
On the Key Stage 1 playground there are a variety of lunchtime activities and also different areas for the children to play in. There is a games rota so children have different equipment to play with. We also have an adult play leader for 3 days who will structure games and activities. Some children may want to participate in games that are set up, whereas others may prefer to sit quietly on the picnic benches. If they are upset we would advise them to find their designated lunchtime supervisor who will talk through any worries they may have.
What happens if it is wet play?
At all times the health and safety of the children is our priority. We aim to let the children outside where possible but if weather conditions do not permit outdoor play, the children go into the Lower School Hall. Children are able to watch a DVD and they often take quiet activities into the hall e.g. drawing, colouring, jigsaws, card games. We are currently trying to expand the range of activities that we can offer for wet play.
If I have concerns about my child and lunchtimes, who should I approach and how?
The person to contact is your child’s class teacher. Often a quick word after school or a note to them is the best way to do this. They will be able to decide on the best course of action and, if necessary, inform the appropriate staff.