A primary school catering team has won an award from the UK’s national school catering industry body, in recognition of their achievements in going ‘above and beyond’ to deliver school meals and more during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Educaterers catering team from Knightlow Primary School in Stretton-on-Dunsmore, near Rugby, were one of just three school catering teams from across the UK who were short-listed for the ‘Primary School Catering Team’ title in the LACA Awards for Excellence 2020, the winners of which were announced earlier this week (Wednesday 25th November).
The LACA Awards acknowledge individuals and teams who continue to make a real difference to school food and education catering.
The Knightlow Primary School Team consists of Educaterers employees Catering Supervisor, Kayleigh Hall, and Catering Assistant, Tia Nelson. Kayleigh worked as a Catering Assistant with Educaterers for 4 years prior to her appointment as Catering Supervisor in March this year, just before the start of lockdown.
Knightlow Primary School is at the heart of the village of Stretton on Dunsmore. With a population of around 1200, there is a strong community spirit in the village, with families sending their children to either Knightlow or Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School in Princethorpe, where the Educaterers catering team also provide delicious, nutritious lunches.
Knightlow Primary School remained open throughout the crisis, with Kayleigh and Tia diligently caring for and feeding vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
Educaterers would usually provide an extensive face to face training programme for a new Catering Supervisor, but in Kayleigh’s case this was not possible. Kayleigh had to fall back on her previous training as a Catering Assistant and undertake remote mentoring and online training as well as train her new Assistant Tia.
Managing Director of Educaterers, Terry Tredget, said: “I’m delighted that Kayleigh and Tia have got the recognition they deserve and have won this national award.
“Both Kayleigh and Tia really pulled together and formed a close bond right from the start.
“They were determined to devise and implement activities to increase awareness of and support the school’s food service and do their very best for their young diners and the wider community in Stretton on Dunsmore.”
Their activities included making ‘thank you’ sweet treats for their ‘mini key workers’ to make the children feel special; organising a meal delivery service to vulnerable children from their partner school that stayed closed; a sports day themed lunch in the dining room; and a sports themed picnic treat for key workers with a fun day on the school field.
As schools reopened to all pupils, the team devised a special hot and cold ‘deli bag’ menu to support social distancing in schools and provide a delicious, healthy and fun alternative to a packed lunch from home, which proved very popular with the children.
Terry Tredget continued: “Our Educaterers team at Knighlow Primary School perfectly exemplify the amazing, caring, committed, dedicated and hard-working attitude of the school food industry.
“They more than stepped up to the plate, working in a Covid secure environment, with humour and professionalism and without concern for themselves, to ensure that every child had a great school lunch.
“But they went far beyond that by planning themed events, making sweet treats and devising activities that helped these children leave their worries at the school gate.
“When the school they send a lunch to everyday closed, Kayleigh and Tia arranged a meal delivery service to the vulnerable and free school meal eligible children, to ensure they got at least one good meal a day. They also worked throughout the Easter school holidays and half term too.
“I’m extremely proud of everything they have achieved.”
Educaterers serve up over 120,000 nutritious tasty meals a week in over 200 schools and colleges in Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Birmingham and Oxfordshire.
For more information on Educaterers, visit www.educaterers.co.uk