Lunch – not for gekkos

In every school there is one key piece of information that you simply have to know. You won’t find it in the handbook, it won’t be mentioned in any information session and it isn’t in the prospectus but make no mistake, it is crucial. I’ll share a secret. At the BSP that piece of information is that Thursday is chip day. Some people plan their week around the humble frite, looking forward to it all week. I think that just about everyone enjoys Thursday lunchtime. If an army marches on its stomach, a school learns better with a full tummy. We are fortunate indeed to work with a dedicated and talented catering team led by our head chef, Khalifa.

Lunchtime photo for front pageDuring my teacher training I wrote a dissertation on the lunch hour in schools. It is an element of school life that I have always been interested in. Lunch, one could say, is a subject close to my stomach. School lunches have changed a good deal since I was at school and definitely for the better. Each day our team here at the BSP create a wide variety of meals; we consume 120 baguettes and deliver almost 900 covers per day. Veau Marengo, goulash, paupiettes, baked salmon and aubergine crumble all feature on our menu. There is a salad bar and cheese and dessert. Gordon Gekko may have said that “lunch is for wimps”; I couldn’t agree less. I am delighted to see pupils taking full advantage of what is on offer, the school day is a long one and fuel is required. We are particularly fortunate that our fuel is especially delicious.

School lunchtime is about more than simply the pleasures of the table. The lunch hour is a period of the day when pupils have the opportunity to define their use of time. For some it is an opportunity to let off steam, to kick a ball about, skip or play complicated games of tag. Others choose to seek calm in the library. A wide range of clubs and activities are on offer. We learn valuable lessons at lunchtime; how to be patient, what a balanced diet looks like and how to converse in a civilised manner. We learn to deal with a little independence in what is otherwise a very structured day. Taking a break at lunchtime allows us to concentrate a little more effectively in the afternoon.

This year I would like us as a community to think about only taking what is sufficient for our needs and in doing so cutting down on the food waste that we produce. All of our food waste is dehydrated and turned into compost – we make a lot of compost. Laudable as this is, it breaks my heart to see platefuls of food being thrown away. Perhaps this might be a topic of conversation when you next sit down as a family, I would greatly appreciate the support.

On the subject of food, I do hope to see lots of you at our welcome event tomorrow – the weather forecast is promising and there can be few greater pleasures than enjoying fish and chips down by the river. Do come along.

Nicholas Hammond

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