Riverston School is a family school with a nurturing and supportive environment that enables all our children to flourish. Our ethos is that of helping every child to fulfil their potential through a genuinely bespoke and child-centred multi-disciplinary approach to learning. We constantly challenge ourselves to improve all that we offer the children at the school and one of the ways we believe we recently achieved this is through changing our catering team and improving even further the range of food on offer to our children. We are what we eat and if we can offer the children in our care nutritious, filling and healthy food, we believe we can help them achieve even more in the school day.
Our new catering team, The Pollen Partnership joined Riverston School in August 2021 and since then, and even before they started, we have as a school, worked in partnership with the team to ensure our pupils are offered delicious healthy but nutritious food that excites and interests them. This interest in food is crucial, we believe, as for children to want to try new foods, they need to be interested in it and really want to give it a go. In recent months this approach has included themed days (such as pancake day) and ‘street food stalls and fresh food displays’ to engage our pupils and introduce them to new foods in a fun way.
The Pollen Partnership is chef led and the chef that cooks the food at Riverston also serves our pupils and this is important in terms of allergy awareness as the chef knows all the ingredients used in every dish. The menu changes every term so pupils never get bored of the same food and it is based on a rolling three week so there is change throughout the term – but also that feeling of anticipation as pupils look forward to a favourite dish coming back on the menu again. The Riverston team work very closely with The Pollen Partnership to feed back pupils thoughts on the menu.
The Pollen Partnership promote plant-based food and over 50% of the menus have this. The team also offer fresh salads every day and we were delighted to start a garden in conjunction with The Pollen Partnership from where the chef can help himself to herbs and salad leaves. Our pupils are really engaged in this garden and tend to it themselves and they are always delighted to see some of their produce being served as part of lunch for the day!
The Pollen Partnership, are holding their first annual Pollen People Awards this year and the catering team at Riverston are finalists in the ‘Best Manager’ and ‘Best Unit’ award – which further highlights the fantastic work being carried out in the kitchen at Riverston.
Since introducing this new catering team, pupils are much more interested in their food selection, keen to try a wider variety of foods and although it is hard to measure, there is an energy at lunchtime that wasn’t there before.
We are really proud of what has been achieved since The Pollen Partnership joined us in August 2021 and very much hope this work will be recognised with a Talk Education award.