Delegates at a recent London conference celebrated the success of a project that has demonstrated the link between healthy school dinners, improved behaviour and academic achievement.
The Food For Life Partnership (FFLP) project was established to help promote healthier food for schoolchildren and also to connect them with the environment and the source of that food. So far the project has helped to transform almost 4,000 schools that have taken part.
One of the project’s greatest supporters is celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. He has been really encouraged by its success and believes that the evidence demonstrates what the best teachers already knew – that school meals and food education don’t just influence children’s health, it also aids concentrated and success at school.
The conference, which was jointly hosted by the Faculty of Public Health and the FFLP, heard evidence from an impartial evaluation by Cardiff University and the University of the West of England.
This demonstrated that;
- The number of primary schools receiving an outstanding Ofsted rating more than doubled following their participation in the FFLP project. Head teachers also reported a beneficial impact on the attention, attainment and behaviour of pupils.
- The proportion of children eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day increased following participation in the project. In addition, almost fifty percent of parents reported that family was eating more sustainable and healthier food.
- The take-up of free school meals increased by thirteen percent in participating schools.
- Almost seventy percent of school inspectors felt that the project had helped to support pupil’s wellbeing and personal development.
A spokeswoman for the FFLP explained that these findings prove that the project is not only helping to improve the diet of schoolchildren but it is also having a positive effect on attainment and behaviour.