LACA responds to changes in school premises regulations
09/10/2012 - 12:58

New School Premises (England) Regulations 2012 have been introduced this year and feature changes to the requirements for schools to provide adequate facilities for the preparation and serving of food and drinks for pupils.

In the previous Standards for School Premises (1999), the regulations stated that school buildings must provide appropriate ancillary facilities and that the buildings must also ‘allow for the preparation or serving of food and drinks and the washing up of crockery and other utensils’.

In addition, they also referred to consideration being given to providing ‘adequate facilities’ such as cold storage for sandwiches and similar items brought into school by pupils.

The new School Premises rules do not clearly state these details.  Instead the wording is “school premises and the accommodation and facilities therein must be maintained to a standard such that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of pupils are ensure”.

School catering providers are concerned about the dilution of the requirements in the new regulations. The vagueness of a number of key aspects also leave them open to wide and varying interpretation.

Commenting on the omissions in the new School Premises Regulations, Anne Bull, LACA National Chair says: “LACA is disappointed to see that the new School Premises (England) Regulations 2012 do not clearly state the requirement for schools to provide adequate facilities for the preparation or serving of food and drinks for pupils, as had been the case within the previous Standards for School Premises (1999).

“As part of the Government’s targets for reducing obesity levels and its aim to improve children’s health through better diets and lifestyles, school meal providers are expected to prepare nutritious meals from fresh ingredients.

“Not having kitchen and dining facilities clearly specified within the new school premises regulations shows a worrying contradiction in policy.

“Complying with the Nutritional Standards for school food provision is mandatory by law in all maintained schools (England).

“These require schools and caterers to provide a daily meal for pupils and a Free School Meals service for those children and young people who are eligible. It would be impossible for them to comply with the law without appropriate kitchen and dining facilities being retained by head teachers and also included in the planning for new school builds.”