Freshly prepared hot lunches are on the menu for the first time at a city primary school.
Children, staff and parents are extremely proud that High Ash Church of England School in Great Brickhill now boasts a fully functional kitchen and its own dining room.
The Ash Tree Restaurant was officially opened on Friday, January 13, by local MP and Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, at a grand opening ceremony.
Members of the community were also invited and everyone enjoyed tea and cakes prepared by the new restaurant team.
To mark the occasion, the school’s 265 children sang a food-themed song written by Year 4 students Juno Canning and Lucy Whitelegge and a blessing was performed by the Revered John Waller, Rector of St Mary the Virgin, Great Brickhill.
The project to install kitchen and dining facilities at the school was prompted by the Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) initiative, which aims to provide healthy, nutritious, hot free school meals for all infant pupils every lunchtime in England’s schools.
Until now, High Ash was one of thousands of schools in England with no facilities to prepare or serve hot meals.
Headteacher Louise Eaton said: “On behalf of the whole school community I’d like to thank everyone involved in this project for their time and expertise in securing the required funding and delivering our wonderful new facilities, which will benefit many children at High Ash C.E now and into the future. The children are incredibly proud of the Ash Tree Restaurant and in time we hope to extend its use to benefit the wider community in Great Brickhill.”
John Bercow commented: “The benefits of providing high quality hot meals for children to enjoy in such a wonderful and sociable environment are huge, and the school’s focus on learning about food and nutrition as a key part of the curriculum can only help to improve health and wellbeing in the longer term.”