Last Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Food Education: Better Eating Better Learning: Transforming school snacks

What is this?

​A case study looking at how one primary school brought about a transformation in the snacks consumed by children at morning break​.

Who is this for?

​This will be of interest to teachers in all sectors, support staff, school catering services, children, young people and parents.

​How to use this exemplar to improve practice

This exemplar shows that it is possible to bring about significant change in potentially challenging practice.

The school set a clear objective - to improve the quality of morning snacks. They identified the problem, then followed this up by establishing a baseline from which to begin. This was an important step if they were to be able to demonstrate progress and improvement.

Engaging the children as leaders at each step of the process ensured that they became the advocates for change amongst their peers and importantly with parents.

​The project became the context for learning for many children. Teachers planned learning which allowed children to develop numeracy skills by undertaking, analysing and translating survey results as well as running the successful tuckshop. Literacy skills were applied as children wrote about and explained the outcomes of surveys to groups parents, persuading them to come on board. Teachers understood the value of children sharing food together and talking together about food in relation to their social wellbeing. Social snack was introduced for younger children. Older children drew on their learning about food, nutrition and health in determining which foods would be appropriate to sell in the school tuckshop. The school has established a high expectation for its food culture, which has become embedded practice throughout the school.

Improvement questions​​​

  • How well does the food culture within your school  reflect the ethos of a health promoting school?
  • How effectively do you engage the children to lead and take ownership of improvements to you school food culture?
  • How well do you make connections made between food provision and food as a context for learning in your setting?


PDF file: Interesting practice (244 KB)

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​What was done?

Working with the Pupil Council and with the support of staff and pupils, the school embarked on series of initiatives to improve the snacks consumed by children at morning break.​

Why was it done?

Teachers and support staff were concerned about the quality and quantity of snacks being brought to school for morning break which, in general, did not reflect the nutrition and dietary messages children were learning at school.​ The quantity of some snacks was felt to lessen the capacity of children to consume their full meal entitlement at lunchtime.​

What was the impact?

Fruit/vegetables are consumed daily by almost every child at break, litter has been reduced, the approach has become accepted practice. Children’s participation built confidence, improved self-worth and belief in children that their actions could bring about positive change.​