Big jump in National School Meals Week participation
06/04/2011 - 23:00

One of the big successes of 2010's National School Meals Week is the huge increase in local authorities, schools and contractors taking part.

That's the view of Irene Carroll, the past chair of LACA who has written a regular blog to encourage catering teams, schools, parents and pupils to get involved.

Based on questionnaires sent out in January she said feedback shows that in the 2010 event 103 local authorities and contract caterers and 366 schools took part. The comparable figures in 2009 were 95 and 214 respectively.

And it is estimated that 17,000 schools took part on at least one day of the week, which ran from November 8-12.

Feedback also showed there were a total of 633 registrations and these were spread across the country, with 25% of registrations coming from teachers.

She said: "The success of NSMW 2010 can be judged from the fact that 74% of respondents saw an increase in meal numbers during the week and on average the increase was 6.3%."

More than 60% respondents continued to see the increase in take-up the following week, while 55% had an increase in meal numbers a month afterwards.

The National School Meals Week website also attracted more visitors, with 5,318 downloads of promotional material made in 2010 compared to just over 2,000 in 2009.

The top downloads were: Monday Primary open belly poster; the Friday Masks for Get Giggling; the recipes from the 1940s for Get Remembering Day; Monday's menu template; Thursday Primary poster.

On average a local authority downloaded 20.4 of the NSMW tools.

Feedback figures showed 46% of respondents rated the week as 'very good', 36% as 'good' and 18% as 'OK'.

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