On Friday, 1st February Mr Andrew Ferguson, Executive Development Chef of the School Meals Service St. Helens, attended a meeting with the Student Council to discuss issues and queries raised concerning the canteen provisions at Rainford High. These included:
St Helens School Meals service adhere to government guidelines regarding sugars, salts and fats in products. Mr Ferguson outlined the ongoing research and developments using substitute ingredients to achieve tasty, healthy options. As a qualified chef, Mr Ferguson told us he is continually experimenting and developing appealing new menu ideas for schools.
The Council was told that meat products sold in the canteen contain a minimum of 65% meat.
The council felt that the display of healthy options e.g. salad, fruit etc. should be displayed more prominently to encourage students to choose healthy options. Suggestions were made to the snack menu e.g. plain popcorn, dried raisins, melon, brown bread toast.
Students suggested that posters could be displayed detailing the sugar/fat/ calorie content of food.
Students were told that prices are regulated and monitored by the school. Mr Young had previously informed the Council that all profits are invested into Rainford High for the benefit of the school community. The Council generally felt they received good value for money.
The Council told Mr Ferguson that the overall quality and choice offered was good but service was extremely poor due to the limits of the school building. Mr Ferguson confirmed that plans have been submitted to St Helens Council to extend and improve the present facilities.
Mr Ferguson told the students that the waste food at present is sent to land fill. Our members suggested as we are situated in a rural area that local farmers could be encouraged to use the waste for animal feed and other environmentally friendly agricultural needs.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has urged all schools to stop using single-use plastic items and consider environmentally-friendly alternatives by 2020. Mr. Ferguson told the students that this is a priority and at present St Helens Council are considering all viable alternatives to support the government initiative.
The Council suggested small changes e.g. replacing cling film for foil in the canteen would significantly reduce plastic use and more water fountains around school to fill water bottles.
Everyone agreed that Mr. Ferguson’s visit was interesting and constructive as he elaborated upon all standards, giving detailed insight and information concerning the future healthy and sustainability targets set by St Helens Council.
The Student Council look forward to building a productive and rewarding relationship with the School Meals Service and will continue to offer ideas and suggestions to improve the provisions offered to Rainford High students and staff.