Customer Advice COVID-19
As schools face the many challenges caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) we want to assure you that at AMI Education we are closely monitoring the situation to ensure we can continue to support our customers.
We take our duty of care to our employees, customers and clients very seriously, and we will always follow the latest Government advice
Advice to Schools
As a valued AMI Education customer we appreciate the trust you put in us to ensure your systems continue to work seamlessly so we have outlined our continuity plans below.
If your school should need to close, we ask that your systems remain switched on and running. This will allow our support team to carry out remote upgrades and continue to work on any outstanding cases, helping to reduce any issues and ensuring your return to school is as seamless as possible.
In the event of COVID-19 closing the AMI office, or employees working from home in isolation, staff will be working from home using their office equipment.
For sales, please ring: 08456 717 101 or email: email@example.com
For support please: 08450 714 667 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
These will be picked up as normal by the support/sales team and dealt with.
We may have to postpone site visits that have already been arranged, and there may be some delay in processing orders for parts. We encourage you to continue to place orders as normal and we will update you on the expected timelines as the order progresses.
As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve, our thoughts go out to all who have been impacted or infected. We hope you are safe, well and are taking all the necessary precautions.
The role of schools in forming lifelong healthy eating habits cannot be underestimated. By providing effective nutrition education alongside healthy school meals, schools can equip pupils with the tools they need to make healthier choices both in adolescence and in later life.
As this week marks the British Nutrition Foundation’s Healthy Eating Week, which focuses on ‘finding your healthier you’ journey, we have compiled 7 practical steps to improving nutrition in schools and encouraging positive long-term eating habits.
What are the government food standards and regulations for schools?
According to gov.uk, food served in schools and academies in England must meet the School Food Standards so that children have healthy, balanced diets.
Meals must provide high-quality meat, poultry or oily fish, fruit and vegetables, bread, and other cereals and potatoes. There cannot be drinks with added sugar and crisps, chocolate or sweets in school meals or vending machines, alongside a limit of no more than two portions of deep-fried, battered, or breaded food a week.
Are schools delivering adequate nutrition to staff and pupils?
Whilst the School Food Standards are in place to ensure schools encourage pupils to develop healthy food choices, some schools struggle to get the correct nutrition and balanced diet to not only their students but to their staff body, and for various reasons.
There are various reasons for this struggle, and one most evident is the lack of efficient management in their school systems.
One of the biggest offenders of an unhealthy diet in pupils is the day-to-day slog of mealtime queuing in schools. Long wait times for school lunches combined with a short amount of time to eat increases the likelihood of pupils making lunch choices based on convenience and availability.
Therefore, mealtime queuing can be one of the main contributors to unhealthy food choices in schools, leading to malnutrition, reduced productivity, and childhood obesity.
As pupils turn to alternative methods to queueing for school lunches, out-of-gate spending increases further. According to Q Minder, a secondary school in London found that its pupils were rejecting food in a school canteen and instead favoured the option to leave school grounds and purchase their lunches, rather than queue for the school meals provided.
This kind of out-of-gate spending can mean students are consuming unhealthy foods for lunch, which the school cannot have complete control over, increasing the risk of childhood weight gain and poor nutrition in children.
Doctor Dame Sally Davies warns obesity poses such a threat to the country that we should treat it as a national risk alongside terrorism, noted in a recent interview for The Telegraph. This statement was accompanied by a survey which found that obesity prevalence was 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds.
How can schools teach children about food nutrition and a healthy diet?
According to the school blog KSL, there are seven helpful pointers to assist schools with their approach to food with pupils in a healthy and educational way. These include:
- 1. Be mindful of language - avoid using ‘bad versus good’ language surrounding food choices, which teaches kids to categorise food types based on morality can lead to shame and guilt when indulging in the occasional treat.
- 2. Teach that food is fuel for the body - encourage children to associate nutritious foods with gaining energy to do all the things they love.
- 3. Encourage trying new foods - use taste testing, introduce variety and teach pupils about the exciting foods on offer in different countries.
- 4. Teach the principle of variety - provide education on a balanced meal, and link this back to the enjoyment of food and how nutritious food can also be tasty.
- 5. Back to nature - connect kids to gardening, agriculture and teach them about where foods come from with ‘grow your own’ activities in lessons.
- 6. Teach the importance of inclusivity - reinforce the idea that all foods can be included, in moderation, in a balanced diet. Avoid discussing eliminating food groups.
- 7. Teach kids to respect biological diversity - discuss messages of size diversity in the context of a lesson on nutrition.
The link between cashless operations and pupil diets
Cashless catering systems, such as AMI’s Infinity + software, offers complete flexibility and works around the requirements of each school. During school mealtimes, cashless systems reduce queues by using quicker identification methods and pre-order payments. These cashless methods ensure pupils spend less time queuing and have more time to eat a healthy school lunch.
The pre-order aspect of this software minimises food wastage whilst providing detailed allergy and dietary requirement information. The app also enables schools to remove any potential discrimination of students by offering Free School Meals (FSM) anonymity.
A LACA survey revealed that 4.9% of pupils entitled to a free school meal do not take up their entitlement, possibly due to parents not wanting their children to face potential embarrassment and discrimination.
A cashless system also promotes healthy eating in schools as it reduces and controls the level of out-of-the-gate spending on unhealthy meals and snacks. Pre-order software, such as the Infinity+ Order pre-order app, mirrors modern food ordering apps such as Deliveroo, which encourages pupils to control their food choices and guarantees they can enjoy their favourite lunch every day.
Healthier lunch options that meet nutritional requirements is one of the most effective ways to tackle the childhood obesity crisis, leading to a better learning environment and reducing food insecurity by establishing a lifetime of healthy habits in students.
Furthermore, AMI’s Infinity + cashless catering and ID management software enables parents to take an active role in their children’s daily school food consumption, despite them not being present at school throughout the day.
When using the Infinity+ Order pre-order app, parents can sit with their children and help them make educated and balanced food choices, ensuring their child is getting a healthy and nutritious meal during school hours. The cashless catering options of AMI Education means parents can rest assured the money spent on school meals is used to make healthy food choices backed by a comprehensive education on nutrition in schools.
Are you looking to make your school cashless?
Get in touch with our team to see how ami’s cashless solutions can benefit your school.
Pre-order school meals on-the-go
We are delighted to launch our pre-order app, Infinity+ Order, the contactless app that enables pupils to pre-order their school meals in advance directly from their phones.
The simple pre-ordering solution is our latest innovation to join our Infinity+ range of cashless, identity management and registration software for schools and colleges around the world.
Contactless meal ordering
When pupils order their school meals via the app, the payment is automatically deducted from their cashless account. This function offers a fully contactless lunch service, and schools are encouraged to control traffic flow with designated pre-order pick-up points.
Head of Operations at ami Education, Tony Reeves had this to say:
“When COVID-19 forced schools around the world to close, we knew that it was vital to ensure that there was a safe solution in place for pupils to pre-order and collect their lunch when schools reopen. We’re excited to offer schools a simple way to do this with the Infinity+ Order app, which allows pupils to order, pay and collect their lunches with just a few clicks.”
Key features of the pre-order app
With retailers adapting to the COVID-19 crisis by switching to contactless order methods, many schools have implemented similar solutions, with ami’s Infinity+ Order pre-order app offering schools a way to mimic out-of-the-gate spending. Infinity+ Order is designed to improve efficiencies for school catering teams by notifying staff in advance of meals ordered to allow catering teams to prepare food accordingly and reduce food wastage. Key benefits of Infinity+ Order include:
- Removes the need for cash in the dining hall
- Completely contactless lunch service
- Pupils can check their live cashless balance anywhere and anytime
- Software is linked to Infinity+ cashless system for a seamlessly integrated pre-order system
- Pre-order school meals in advance, for the date of their choice
- School catering teams are notified of meals ordered in advance and can prepare quantities of food accordingly, reducing food wastage
- Pupils and parents can view current and previous orders
What Parents say about Infinity+ Order
Following the app launch, a selection of UK schools implemented Infinity+ Order as part of their cashless catering solutions. When reviewing the app, one parent said:
“The app is amazing. My daughter downloaded it and now pre-orders almost every day.”
- Secondary school parent, Preston
Interested to learn more about Infinity+ Order?
Speak with our friendly team at ami Education. Get in touch to discuss the right software solutions for your education establishment.