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School Meals Support Service

Page last updated: 17/09/2018

​​The School Meals Support Service is funded by the DSG and offers support for all aspects of food provision. 

The service offers strategic and operational support to all maintained schools at no cost and offers support to Academies via an annual service level agreement at an annual cost of £1,400.

The team consists of 13 term time support managers who are based in geographical areas and offer operational support to schools. If your school has a catering department here are some areas we can provide support for school leaders:

  • Continuous support for training audit and compliance: mandatory staff training, compliance with food safety & health and safety
  • Annual audit/health check to ensure that the school are compliant with food safety regulations
  • Business development – including an annual business plan, review of uptake and promoting service to maximise uptake/develop marketing initiatives.
  • Advice on finding suppliers that are regulated
  • Advise on equipment and service maintenance contracts
  • Ongoing specialist contact for the catering manager and the Governors/HT
  • Menu development twice yearly to ensure compliance with statutory food standards.
  • Advice and support for Allergens and EU legislation
  • Staff recruitment, induction and performance management
  • Catering manager development  - including termly cluster meetings with other schools.

The service provides schools with a professional and friendly one stop shop for all your catering support needs.

If you are an existing Essex school and need support then contact us to obtain support for your school.

Useful Documents

Latest News

Autumn Term 2018 Schedule

The booking form and list of current training dates for the Autumn Term 2018 is now available here​​.  ​

Future of the School Meals Support Service

Following the last meeting of the Schools Forum, we have been tasked with developing a traded model for our service.  Work on this model has commenced and  we looking to seek your views on this.  Using the link below, we would be grateful if you could complete this short Questionnaire.

Training Schedule for 2017-18

The School Meals Support Service provides CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health) certified qualifications in Level 2 Food Safety, Level 2 Health & Safety and Level 3 Supervising Food Safety.  We also provide Level 3 Supervising Food Safety 1 day refresher courses.
The course schedule for the academic year 2017/18 can be found  here for which bookings are now being taken.  To request a booking form for any of these courses or for further information, please email or call 01245 356218. 
Bookings are secured with a completed booking form on a first come, first served basis. 

Guidance - Grapes and Cherry Tomato safety

​Following the recent tragic death of a child who choked on a grape - please see this guidance  issued for schools.

Allergen & Food Labelling Legislation Update

The law changed on the 13 December 2014 - is your school / catering team ready?

"For food businesses providing non-prepacked food, such as retailers, restaurants, takeaways, bakeries and institutional caterers (prisons, nurseries, schools, hospitals, workplace canteens etc.), the EU FIC introduced a new requirement to provide information on allergenic ingredients. This information can be provided in writing and/or orally."

If you need any further clarification or advice please contact your School Meals Support Manager or telephone the Essex County Council School Meals Helpline on 01245 356218.

The school meals support service has reproduced a food allergens poster which must be displayed in your school kitchen. If you haven't received one, or would like one, please email



For further information

School Meals Support Service

County School Meals Office, Westlands Primary School, Chelmsford CM1 2SB

0333 032 1271