School meals nom nom nominated for another award

School meals in Plymouth are making headlines again for all the right reasons after being shortlisted for another prestigious national award.

Plymouth City Council’s Education Catering Service has been chosen as one of the nine finalists for the Best Council Service Team of the Year at the highly regarded MJ Achievement Awards 2014.

Brad Pearce, Education Catering Manager, said: “To be shortlisted for the MJ Awards is amazing. It puts us amongst the highest achieving councils across the country and is fantastic recognition of the work we’re doing to ensure Plymouth’s children receive the best school meals possible. We’re extremely proud of what we do here in Plymouth – all our meals are freshly prepared using fantastic local and seasonal produce, much of it is organic, and it’s from regional suppliers. We treat those ingredients with absolute respect to ensure we make delicious and nutritious meals for young people. We work incredibly closely with schools in the city – it’s a great partnership based on full co-operation which has resulted in real success.

“We narrowly missed out on becoming Team of the Year at the Cost Sector Catering Awards last month so we’re really hopeful we’ll be able to add the MJ Award to our growing list of accolades. So far we hold Education Caterers of the Year 2013 from the Educatering Excellence Awards, as well as a ‘Good Egg Award’ for using only organic eggs and the Gold standard from the Soil Association in recognition of our fresh, seasonal menus sourced from local suppliers.”

Plymouth will battle it out against Caerphilly County Borough Council, Glasgow City Council, Luton Borough Council, Monmouthshire County Council, Northamptonshire County Council, North Lanarkshire Council, Southampton City Council and the City and Council of Swansea on 19 June in London.

Plymouth is already recognised as one of the country’s pioneering education catering services, and as such, is currently working to help schools throughout the South West to prepare for the launch of the universal free school meals this September. Brad is also a blogger for the School Food Plan and has been asked to be part of the Plan’s Small Schools Taskforce, to help small schools overcome their particular logistical difficulties, and drawn up a strategy to improve the skills and morale of school caterers.

Assistant Director for Education, Learning and Families, Judith Harwood, said: “Brad and his team are fantastic – they are a real credit to the Council and the city. They ensure our children’s meals are made from top quality ingredients from local suppliers here in the Westcountry. With the introduction of the universal free school meals many more children in the city will benefit from our fantastic service, which last year increased the number of meals served by around 26,000.”

The Council’s Education Catering Service services millions of school meals every day to 64 primary schools, 5 special schools, 1 nursery school, 1 Alternatively Complementary Education Service and 2 secondary academies.

For more information about Plymouth’s school meals