Lunches at Atwood

At Atwood, our school meals are provided by Chartwells.  All infant children are provided with a free hot meal each day as agreed by the government under the Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) initiative. Children in Year 3 upwards pay £2.35 per day via their School Gateway account for school lunches unless they are entitled to income-based free school meals.

Menus are designed to follow a three week rota, ensuring the children eat a variety of high quality, nutritious meals. We cater carefully for children with allergies and food intolerances. You will have been asked for allergy information when your child joined the school; please inform the school office as soon as possible if there is any change to your child’s requirements.

When choosing your child’s meal, you do not need to book in advance. Children can choose what they would like on each day when they get to the counter in the Junior Hall. It is helpful for the little ones if you go through the next day’s menu choices with them at home, so they are prepared for what is on offer. Children can swap between school dinners and packed lunches on any day without prior notice.

Please click on the links below for more information about Chartwells and the food they provide.

Packed lunches

In common with the other Pegasus schools Atwood has no formal policy on packed lunches, but all of the relevant guidance relating to school packed lunches can be found below.

To grow and stay healthy children need to eat a nutritionally well balanced diet.

Schools are an influential setting and can contribute significantly to improving the health and well-being of pupils. Good nutrition in childhood can help to prevent a variety of health problems, both in the short term and later in life. There is increasing concern that many children are consuming too much fat, sugar and salt and too little fibre, fruit and vegetables.

Packed lunches can contribute to almost a third of a child’s weekly food intake and therefore need to be balanced and nutritious.


To ensure that packed lunches (brought in from home) reflect the new food standards for school meals as laid out by the government.


The content of lunchboxes needs to reflect the requirement of schools to meet minimum food and nutrition standards for school meals. The contents of lunchboxes in some schools can be extremely unhealthy; recent informal audits of lunchboxes at Atwood have shown that in the main they contain foods with high levels of fat, sugar and salt, and very few fruit and vegetables.

The short term effects of unhealthy packed lunches and food intake can include poor growth, tooth decay, obesity, anaemia, constipation, poor concentration and behavioural problems which may have an impact on a child’s learning. The longer term effects of a poor diet in childhood can be an increased risk of stroke, cancer, heart disease and diabetes in adulthood.  Children’s packed lunches should include items from the 5 main food groups:

  1. Bread, Rice, Potatoes, Pasta. These starchy foods are a healthy source of energy. Packed lunches should include 2 or more portions eg pasta salad, sandwich.
  2. Fruit and Vegetables. These foods provide vitamins, minerals and fibre. Lunches should include at least 1 portion of fruit and 1 portion of vegetables / salad, or more e.g. carrot/cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes, a piece of fruit.
  3. Milk and Dairy foods. These foods provide calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Include 1 portion at lunch e.g. yoghurt, fromage frais, milk.
  4. Meat, Fish, Eggs, Beans. These foods provide protein for growth. Packed lunches should include 1 portion of these foods e.g. boiled egg as filling in sandwich, mixed bean salad.
  5. Drinks – any drinks provided in lunch boxes should only include either plain water, milk (semi-skimmed), unsweetened fresh fruit juice, diluted fresh fruit juice, fruit or dairy based smoothies.

Please support us by not including these items in a packed lunch

Foods and drinks high in fat and / or sugar

It is important not to fill up on too many foods that are high in fat and / or sugar at the expense of other more nutritious foods. Limiting high fat and sugar foods will help protect young people from becoming overweight as well as helping prevent tooth decay, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

  • Fizzy Pop/Fruit Shoots
  • Sweets
  • Chocolate bars
  • Crisps
  • Cake bars, such as the Mr Kipling double packs
  • Biscuits

Waste and Disposal

The school will, within reason, send any uneaten packed lunch food items back home. The rationale for this is that parents can also monitor what their child has consumed during the day and then raise any concerns over their child’s food intake with the school.

Atwood is a Nut Free School

Please note that we are a nut free school which includes such items as Nutella spread or pesto.

Monitoring of our Guidelines

The children are supervised each day by our mid-day supervisors and packed lunch children currently eat in a separate Hall from the school dinner children.  Therefore, it is easy for school adults, including members of the Senior Leadership Team, to monitor the contents of your child’s packed lunch box.

If it is felt that the contents of your child’s packed lunch goes against the rationale of these guidelines, then a member of the SLT will be in touch to discuss the situation and agree a positive way forward.

Are You Packing a Healthy Lunch?

Click here to view a guidance leaflet from the Public Health Agency full of advice and tips on preparing a healthy packed lunch.

First published on 23rd July, 2022 and modified 4th October, 2022

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