Free school meals: Now there is such a thing as a free lunch

This Is Wiltshire: All Cannings head teacher Richard Borman with pupils and their healthy lunch All Cannings head teacher Richard Borman with pupils and their healthy lunch

The Government’s new scheme to introduce free infant school meals has been rolled out across the Devizes area this week and most schools were ready for the new term.

Many are working with caterers Lataca, which supplies meals and run kitchens in five of the schools.

The company, run by Laura Taylor, manages the kitchens of schools which have facilities and delivers to those who do not.

Mrs Taylor said: “This is a great opportunity to encourage children to eat healthily and learn about food. Because of the new initiative Bishops Cannings Primary is now cooking on site and has a garden. It is all very positive.”

Along with Rowde Academy where the company is based, the company is also working with Bishops Cannings Primary, Dauntsey Academy Primary in West Lavington, Wansdyke School, Nursteed Community Primary, and Holy Trinity Primary in Great Cheverell, in addition to four other schools in Wiltshire. The Trinity School in Devizes is working with Sue Brady Catering to cope with the increase in meals and is happy with the brought-in service.

All Cannings Primary School has had a new kitchen installed and is working with Edwards and Ward caterers.

They are supplying food to two other schools: Chirton Primary and Urchfont Primary along with the pre-schools at Chirton and All Cannings.

Headteacher Richard Borman accompanied the caterers to deliver the first meals on Monday to Chirton Primary School and said the feedback from parents has been positive.

Mr Borman said: “It was a bit of a headache over the summer getting it ready but it was certainly worth it.”

Other schools including St Barnabas Primary in Market Lavington, Southbroom Infants and St Joseph’s School have used their own in-house caterers and have only had to make small changes to accommodate the extra meals. St Barnabas is still waiting on a kitchen refit, however, to improve its current facilities after delays from manufacturers.

Dilys Neate, the administration officer at Southbroom Infants, said that before the Government changes only about half of its pupils had a cooked lunch but now it would have to serve 200 cooked meals each day.

She said: “We are still waiting for a new oven to arrive but we are prepared as much as we can be. We will have to wait and see how long it takes to serve all the children and see if we need to extend the lunch period.”

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