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School Meals Support Services

Page last updated: 01/04/2019

​​The School Meals Support Service is currently 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.

The team consists of 9 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 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 including discounted pricing framework
  • Advise on equipment and service maintenance contracts
  • Ongoing specialist contact for the catering manager and the Governors/HT
  • Seasonal 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

​Please note: We are aware there are alternative trainers available in the open market, you are not bound under contract to use the provider named, and are therefore free to choose any trainer you feel offers a value for money service.


Latest News

Statement from LACA on Banning Energy Drink sales to Children

​The House of Commons select committee on science and technology has recommended in a report published this week, a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children.

LACA, the school meals organisation, has immediately announced its support for the decision.

In a statement, it said: “LACA fully supports the Government's proposal, as part of the second chapter of the Childhood Obesity plan, to end the sale of energy drinks to children, as shown in our response to their consultation on this issue.

“As such, we welcome the publication of the Science and Technology Committee's report into this topic, and their recognition that societal concerns could justify a ban.

“We hope the Government response to the consultation will reflect the evidence that the prohibition of energy drinks would improve attainment and concentration in schools, whilst also helping to tackle childhood obesity and associated health issues later in life."

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 schools currently supported by the service will shortly be receiving an email with further details and prices. ​


​We are now working in partnership with HSH Training Company to deliver accredited catering training courses suitable for your catering team.  For more information please call Michelle or Claire at HSH on 01277 633444 or email​ or speak to your school meals support adviser.
For more information, click here.
​Please note: We are aware there are alternative trainers available in the open market, you are not bound under contract to use the provider named, and are therefore free to choose any trainer you feel offers a value for money service.

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 

"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 on​

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 the team using the email above.

For further information

School Meals Support Service