Dishing up the best school meals

Council catering staff at two Liverpool schools are celebrating after scooping national awards for their initiative, skill and dedication.

Kitchen staff at St Cecilia’s Catholic Infant and Nursery School in Tuebrook scooped the gong for best customer service in the public sector at the Blakemore Foodservice Awards.

They serve 150 freshly prepared meals a day – and the school even has its own allotment which grows food for the kitchen.

Veteran Head Cook Ellen Hives – who has served three generations of pupils – works closely with children, asking what they like and don’t like and making changes if necessary.

The catering team and school staff organise many theme days and at a Bonfire party were met with a red ‘firework’ carpet, streamers and a light show which mimicked fireworks going off around the Dining Hall.

Headteacher Elizabeth van de Waal said: “Children are at the centre of what Ellen does, she bends over backwards and is very enthusiastic in all that she does for the school. She has a great work ethic and her team follow suit.”

On Friday 8 January, Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for education, Councillor Nick Small will be going back to school and visiting St Cecilia’s Infants to congratulate staff and sample their award winning service.

Meanwhile, staff at St Anne Stanley C of E Primary School in Old Swan were double winners at the awards ceremony – picking up prizes for best catering team and best overall in the public sector.

Around 300 of its pupils have a school lunch and it has developed new menus which have proved hugely popular.

The school now offers a breakfast club and also has a deli bar serving sandwiches, wraps and jackets.

Cllr Small said: “Good quality school meals are really important, and in some cases it is the one hot meal a day that children receive.

“Our school catering service does a fantastic job providing excellent food to many of our children and young people and it is great to see staff at two of the schools recognised.

“I am very much looking forward to finding out how the food has improved since I was a lad, when it was all soggy semolina and grey cabbage!”