Sharon Hodgson, MP for Sunderland West Visits Newcastle Secondary School

Published 3rd December 2015

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West visited Heaton Manor Secondary School, Newcastle Upon Tyne on 20th March 2015.  Her aim was to learn how School Food Champion, Debra Robinson, has worked hard to improve the schools food provision with an 18% increase in school lunch take up, which is incredible!

Debra Robinson the Food Technology teacher and her pupils, have joined forces with the school catering team and are devising nutritional and appealing menus that the pupils are keen to eat. Heaton Manor School is one of a small number of schools selected to join the School Food Champions Programme; a national programme helping schools to improve the health of pupils, by encouraging more of them to eat better school lunches

The programme is funded by the Department for Education, following the findings of the School Food Plan, and is run by a consortium consisting of the D&T Association, The British Nutrition Foundation and Eagle Solutions Services.

Debra Robinson – Food Technology Teacher, Heaton Manor said, “We are passionate about teaching excellent cooking and nutrition to our pupils and have identified a member of staff to become a School Food Champion within our school.  Our School Food Champion will be working closely with our leadership team and school food service, giving us an opportunity to deliver a programme which will improve the health of pupils and encourage them to eat better school lunches.”

Louise Davies – Lead Food Technology Consultant, D&T Association said - “ We welcome Uptake of Free School Meals (UFSM) as it is important that our youngest pupils have the healthiest start to life. The School Food Champions programme continues the valuable healthy eating work going on in our primary schools and supports compulsory food teaching in our secondary schools.  Pupils design and make new school lunch menus that are healthy and enjoyable. They work with professional chefs, school caterers and food technology teachers developing exciting new ideas, tasting and modifying existing recipes and presenting their designs”

The DfE have identified that pupils who eat a good school lunch are healthier, achieve better attainment and enjoy improved behaviour. Through the School Food Champion Programme, our teachers will increase their knowledge and develop resources to support the new National Curriculum in cooking and nutrition, champion pupil voice, and support it’s reflection in the meal choices and service and in so doing improve the numbers of children eating a health school dinner.

What other schools have said.

Mrs Nicky Nunns, Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School  said - “I fully appreciate the importance of raising students’ awareness and understanding of healthy eating and nutrition. This comes not only through their enjoyment of practical cooking activities but also through their food choices. School meals have been much maligned over the years and whilst there is some excellent provision, I believe there is still a long way to go, hence why I am so thrilled to be part of this programme.  I’m looking forward to working with like minded colleagues to have a real impact on the quality of food provision and education, not only in my own school but across the country also.”

Gill Lawrie, James Calvert Spence College said - "I think eating balanced and nutritious food is essential to a child's ability to learn and succeed"

Sophie Cowell, Withesnea High School said – “Our school is improving academically all the time and now is the chance to give the students of Withernsea and the surrounding area a dining experience to remember!”

To learn more about the School Food Champions programme go to

Or email Tamara Hill:

Telephone number: 01789 470007

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