Blog: Making after school clubs healthier through collaboration

Blog: Making after school clubs healthier through collaboration
Healthy Zones after school club
8 November 2021
It is important to bring everyone in the school on-board with driving and sustaining these changes.

We start by setting up a working group made up of the headteacher, school business manager, club staff, school chefs and governors todiscuss what’s going well and where the school needs support.  

This is a good opportunity for senior leaders and the catering team to have an open discussion about any barriers and how to overcome them. We also ask parents to feed into the discussion about what foods they would like to see on the after-school club menu and their feedback is often for increased variety and more fruit and vegetables. It is also essential that parents are aware of the portion sizes being served, as we’ve seen a disconnect between what they think and what is actually being provided.  

It is then time for the students to taste some new recipes and it has been great to see so many children trying new foods like smoked mackerel pate and tzatziki, often to the surprise of the staff. These tasting sessions are a safe space for children to taste different flavours and practise giving feedback in a more neutralway, moving away from 'ewww this is disgusting' to simply saying 'this wasn't my favourite'.

One primary school in Southwark, Angel Oak Academy, had 14 children out of 19 say they liked something they didn’t think they would. Some schools have a very small window to prepare the food for their after-school club, so we’ve put together a list of simple, affordable recipes for them to test out.  

One Lambeth primary school that we are working with, Henry Facwett, has set up a cooking club once a week to prepare and taste various snacks. Their Healthy Zones student ambassadors choose what they would like to cook each week and have met with the catering team to plan for the club menu.  

It is amazing to see the students empowered to drive improvements in their school and we look forward to seeing more of this in other schools.

Our Healthy Zones programme supports schools to create a food environment that puts young people's health centre stage.