There is fundamentally no difference between children who attend a state maintained school or an independent school. While a state school will have children on Free School Meals, all children no matter their background want choice, the latest food fads found on the high street, and they probably all want to wander off into town at lunchtime. So how can the catering provision be so different between a state school and a private one? The school food standards certainly come top in my list. Independents are not legally obliged to follow the standards and many don’t. Frequently there are coffee shops built into the catering offer, although in January 2016 Costa chose to remove itself from its 70 school sites (apart from sixth form colleges). And while coffee is allowed in the standards, millionaire shortbreads certainly aren’t. Then there are the sports teas (and often specialist sports nutrition), the breakfasts and dinners, not to mention hospitality events including conferences, language schools and weddings throughout term and into the holidays. It seems, then, that catering in independent schools is big business. The pupil demand is the same, but the pressure on the school to make every aspect of its facilities top notch to fee-paying parents, is relentless. In this issue we look at three very different independent school caterers. On page 14 there’s Holyroyd Howe, which is achieving great success in capturing contracts from previously self-managed schools. On page 18 we feature Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, an in-house team who provide meals from weaning age right up to 18. It won the Independent School Caterer of the Year category at the EDUcatering Excellence Awards last year and it’s easy to see why (don’t forget to enter this year’s awards!) And on page 22 there’s Harrison, who were brought in last September to provide catering at Abbey College in Cambridge, where 90% of the pupils are Asian and the menu reflects this demographic; talk about bespoke offers. I look forward to seeing many of you at the LACA Main Event. We’ll be at stand P55 and I’d love to hear about your catering offer, so do please come and say hello to me! Catch our bumper preview of the event from page 33.
There’s a growing number of teenagers from overseas coming to study in UK schools, many in readiness for progressing to the likes of Cambridge and Oxford Universities. Morag Wilson visits Abbey College in Cambridge to see how it’s leading the caterer, Harrison, to offer very different cuisine to that seen in most British schoolsRead More
Double EDUcatering Excellence Award winner Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate has a five-year plan to revitalise its catering offer. Three years in and the school is on track to offer a totally innovative, inclusive service involving the whole school, writes Morag WilsonRead More