Food for Life Served Here: Bronze Award
We're excited to let you know that our Food For Life Served Here (FFLSH) award has just been renewed! We received our FFLSH inspection and have, once again, been awarded the Bronze Food for Life Served Here Award by the Soil Association. This award, from the UK's leading food and farming charity and certification body, recognises our dedication to providing students with lunches that reach, and go beyond, the national School Food Standards. In short, sugary snacks and fizzy drinks are out and fresh fruit and vegetables are in.
In addition to serving freshly prepared, healthy meals that will help your pupils reach their five portions of fruit and veg a day, we're also committed to using honest, local produce. This means that meat served can be traced back to the farm and meets or exceeds UK animal welfare standards. Many of the vegetables used have been sourced locally which reduces the environmental impact of your children's lunches. What's more, all ingredients used in meals are free from additives, artificial trans fats and GMOs, and most of the food is freshly prepared by trained chefs. Avoiding processed foods mean that chefs know exactly what's going in to the food they are preparing, and it will also ensure that children can connect the food they are eating to where it came from. In addition, the award recognises that menus are inclusive of cultural needs and dietary requirements, so every child is catered for on our lunch menus.
Gateshead School Catering crowned best UK performer for the third time running
Gateshead's hard-working team which cooks and serves more than 11,000 school meals a day has been crowned best in the country.
Gateshead Council's School Catering Service has been singled out as the top performing school meals provider in the UK by the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) - the third year running the 350-strong school catering team has won the award.
Michael Lamb, Facilities and Catering Manager for Gateshead Council, said: "To win one of these prestigious awards, you have to prove you are the best at almost everything. To win one once is achievement enough, but to be declared the winner three times is fantastic."
Gateshead School Catering is the Best UK Performer - Again!
Gateshead Council's School Catering Service has declared the UK's top performing school meals provider by the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) - for the second year running. The council was compared with 50 school meals providers and was again judged to be delivering the best quality, cost and productivity in the UK.
To win an APSE Performance Network Award, the performance of individual local authorities are measured and benchmarked against dozens of their rivals. The winner is the local council that has proved to be performing better than all the rest.
Michael Lamb, Facilities & Catering Manager for Gateshead Council, says "To win one of these prestigious awards, you have to prove you are the best at almost everything. To win one once is achievement enough, but to be declared the winner twice is fantastic. What is especially pleasing is that this award isn't judged on the basis of a glossy brochure or a slick video presentation, but on our day-to-day performance. It shows that we are clearly doing something right."
Inspectors Impressed By Customer Service Excellence
Gateshead School Catering recently had its annual assessment for Customer Service Excellence - and received some excellent feedback from the inspectors. After a thorough assessment of the service, the assessor said they were particularly impressed with training and development policies for staff and remarked on how polite and friendly staff are to customers.
Gateshead School Catering has'...a deep understanding' of its customer service needs. The assessors final report has now been received and not only has the service retained its accreditation, it has been awarded with a compliance plus for the second year running.
New ordering system in the classroom
Our new electronic ordering system is now up and running in a handful of schools, and we are currently rolling it out to more schools ready for the New Year.
The system will benefit both the catering team and the school. Not only does it provide timely and accurate reports for your school kitchen, enabling it to match servings with demand, it also doubles as a pupil registration system.
We would like to hear your feedback when it arrives in your school.
Consulting on Free School Meals
The Government is currently consulting on eligibility for free school meals and the early years pupil premium under Universal Credit - and you can take part. This consultation invites views on the government's changing eligibility criteria for free school meals and the early years pupil premium in light of the introduction of Universal Credit. In particular, the government is consulting on its measures to protect those families who would otherwise lose entitlement to free school meals as a result of the criteria change.
The government says it intends that these entitlements reach the most disadvantaged households in a way that is consistent, fair and simple and it has measures to protect those families who would otherwise lose entitlement to free school meals as a result of this criteria change.
Food for Life Accreditation Renewed
Gateshead School Catering has successfully retained its Soil Association 'Food for Life Served Here' accreditation. The independent award scheme that means you can guarantee that the majority of food on the menu is freshly prepared, free from undesirable trans fats, sweeteners and additives, and is cooked by trained chefs, and use ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources.
The accreditation demonstrates the service's commitment to serving healthy, home cooked meals made from local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients which not only ensures that pupils are getting the best possible fuel for the day, but also makes a real difference to local enterprises.
A new look for Sedgefield College
27 September 2017
Gateshead School Catering has won the contract to provide school meals to approximately 1,000 pupils and teachers at Sedgefield College in County Durham.
The Gateshead Council run service beat off competition from several other local and national catering providers to secure a three year contract to provide a complete break time and lunchtime food service to pupils and staff.
Pupils returning after the summer holidays will have seen an immediate difference after Gateshead School Catering spent most of the summer creating a whole new look for the schools various outlets, and completely redecorating the serving areas.
The service's new 'Pitstop' brand promises a wide range of hot food, including daily two-course specials, pasta and curry pot meals, as well as sandwiches, wraps, jacket potatoes and salads, all at affordable prices and in a bright and informal food court setting.
Kids get stuck into school meals
10 May 20
Kids have been going crazy over a series of brightly coloured stickers featuring crazy food-based characters created by Gateshead Council.
The stickers, which have been handed out by catering staff to reward healthy choices, have been going down a storm - and children have been clearing their plates in double-quick time in a bid to collect 35 all different characters!
Head of School Catering Michael Lamb says: "We came up with the idea for stickers as a way to introduce a bit of fun at mealtimes, but also to encourage good behaviour.
"Dinner time can sometimes be a little daunting to younger children and I know our staff work really hard to make school dinners fun and enjoyable. These stickers give them something they can use to reward and encourage good behaviour."
Tray liners mean lunchtime fun
10 May 2017
Gateshead School Catering is developing a range of colourful tray liners to introduce a little fun into lunchtimes.
The printed A4 sheets can be either placed directly onto dinner trays or handed out to children en route to their table and contain puzzles, games, facts, word searches and jokes on particular current themes.
Halloween and Christmas tray liners have already been trialled in some schools and a British Pie Week tray liner was also introduced. Work is continuing on new themes which reflect the seasons, major sporting events or other important events in the national calendar.
We'd be very interested in hearing from schools about which themes they think might help to support their own curricula so future tray liners could have some additional value.
10 May 2017
Gateshead School Catering will be holding another of its 'Let's Talk About Food...' events at Gateshead's Civic Centre on 28 June.
The event will offer head teachers, business managers and other school-based staff a sneak preview of our brand new menu for 2017/18, plus enjoy the opportunity to discuss issues around school meals with our team of professionals.
As well as tasting some of the dishes which we will be serving to children during the next academic year, school-based staff will also be able to hear about our plans for the future and exchange ideas.
New food safety policy statement
10 May 2017
Gateshead School Catering has issued a new Food Safety Policy Statement outlining its commitment to providing customers with the highest standards of food safety.
The statement outlines the comprehensive risk-based quality food safety management system which is employed to ensure that everyone involved in preparing and delivering school meals takes every reasonable precaution and exercises due diligence in regards to food safety.
It sets down clear standards for food quality and traceability, personal hygiene, safe operating procedures and food monitoring. The statement will be going up in school kitchens and school dining rooms this term.