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Healthy Eating Week 2020: why nutrition must be a priority in schools after lockdown

Healthy eating concept with fresh veggies

In recent few weeks, stories of how schools have managed to reopen to all pupils safely have dominated education news outlets, with discussions on how most of these pupils have been eager to return to school, excited at the prospect of returning to a regular learning routine.

 

Whilst classroom learning is a crucial aspect of this routine; it is essential to consider how a positive lunchtime experience affects a student's learning ability. As today marks the start of the British Nutrition Foundation's Healthy Eating Week, we're looking at why nutrition must be a key priority for schools as the start of a new style of learning begins.

 

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Importance of school meals during lockdown

When schools closed in March, this brought a period of unrest and disruption to the routine of many, especially to younger children who were still getting used to the regular school routine and the benefits that it brought.

 

Providing pupils, especially those eligible for free school meals and whose parents/guardians were made redundant, with a regular supply of nutritious meals was crucial for education professionals. It highlighted the fantastic work done within the sector.

 

One example of this was the tireless effort put in by headteacher Zane Powles to hand-deliver 7,500 free school meals to his students in Grimsby. Another prominent case of the fight to provide children with free school meals was by footballer Marcus Rashford. He successfully called for the government to reverse a decision not to provide free school meal vouchers during the summer.

 

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Those admirable efforts to help struggling families during lockdown show the importance of school meals and how schools can provide a vital service in keeping pupils well-fed with delicious and nutritious meals.

 

According to the National Food Strategy, the crisis of child food poverty is only growing, with up to 1.5 million more children in England eligible for free school meals. Therefore, when many pupils rely on their free school meal as their main meal of the day, especially after months when pupils may have experienced limited access to healthy food, this heightens the need to provide pupils with nutritious food during lunchtime.

 

While many factors affect a child's learning ability, providing them with a healthy lunch after months of uncertainty will be crucial to make up for time lost in the classroom.

 

Government regulations

Government regulations state that food served in schools and academies in England must meet standards that require the provision of good-quality meat, poultry or oily fish, fruit and vegetables, bread and other cereals and potatoes.

 

Drinks with added sugar and crisps, chocolate or sweets are banned in school meals and vending machines, as well as a limit of no more than two portions of deep-fried, battered, or breaded food a week. These regulations ensure that all the main food groups are covered, providing pupils with healthy food to keep their energy levels up and equip them with the tools to learn.

 

The new school lunchtime experience

Since schools reopened, the lunchtime experience differs by each school, with some schools operating on a 'packed lunch' only basis. Whether the school or parents provide lunches, other schools opt for pupils to each lunch in the classroom, and other schools offer pre-order services from the canteen, ensuring pupils can still safely access hot school meals.

 

Pre-order software, including AMI's Transact offering, allows pupils to pre-order their lunches ahead of time, reducing the need for queueing in the dining hall and therefore ensuring social distancing measures are abided. Pre-ordering software is becoming increasingly popular amongst schools across the UK. It is a vital drive in keeping children well-fed at lunchtime during the new age of social distancing rules in schools.

 

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Value of hot school meals

Vital government regulations over the content of school meals mean that each pupil eating a hot school meal has access to at least one nutritionally adequate meal during the day, including those eligible for free school meals. On the other hand, packed lunches do not need to abide by these regulations, with research finding that only 2% of packed lunches meet school food standards (Evans et al. 2020).

 

Some may argue that packed lunches can be nutritionally balanced, like hot school meals. However, due to the lack of regulations over the content of lunchboxes, focusing on hot school meals is the most effective way of ensuring schools meet all the necessary dietary requirements for children and offer a safer option for pupils suffering from food allergies.

 

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"Serving a hot, nutritious daily meal to pupils would mean that parents, schools, and their caterers would have more faith knowing that children are getting the food that they need.

 

For many vulnerable children, their hot school meal is the only meal they have in the day. A more straightforward (and healthier) food offer would go a long way to ensure pupils eat food that meets the mandated school meal standards rather than being lured away by the daily temptation of their favourite food. " Jeanette Orrey, co-founder of Food for Life.

 

As we mark the beginning of Healthy Eating Week, putting hot school meals on the menu during school lunchtimes will be a key driver in providing pupils with consistent, nutritious food as they settle back into their new school routine. And judging by the increase in schools switching to cashless payments and a ‘grab and go’ style of lunch service, pre-ordering software will be the future of the Covid-19 friendly school lunchtime experience.

 

To learn more about how you can get involved in BNF Healthy Eating Week, visit: https://bit.ly/366CYBh.

 

How

ami News, Education
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Integrated Chip & Pin Launch for Cashless Schools

Integrated Chip & Pin is now available for schools! We are delighted to announce that Ami Education customers can directly facilitate fast, automatic card payments effortlessly with our Infinity+ cashless system.

 

Launching integrated Chip & Pin to the education market

Brand new to the education market, our Chip & Pin feature is fully integrated with our Infinity+ cashless solution, making time-consuming payments and manual reporting a thing of the past.

 

Schools can now accept all major forms of payment, including debit and credit cards, contactless payments, and Apple Pay and Google Pay. This means schools can expand their catering offering to parents, guardians, and school visitors without being registered in their cashless system.

 

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The benefits of integrated card payments for schools

The integrated solution automatically displays transaction amounts on the payment pin entry device (PED) at the PoS for seamlessly quick payments. Furthermore, all card payments are consolidated as part of your cashless takings report, giving schools one true source without the need to manually add up card payments separately at the end of the day.

 

The key features and benefits of Chip & Pin include:

  • Fast and secure payments
  • Remove unnecessary payment barriers to help increase catering uptake
  • Supports all major card payments and Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Reduced human error in payments and reporting
  • Consolidated cashless reports, with no manual adding up at the end of the day
 

AMI

 

"Here at Ami Education, we are delighted to announce the release of our integrated Chip & Pin functionality to the education sector. This is a feature that our customers, particularly sixth-form colleges and secondary schools, are excited to integrate with their Infinity+ cashless solution, and I am so pleased to announce that we've done exactly that!

 

This launch will change the world of cashless catering, and it's all down to how we listen, engage, and deliver to our customer base. Massive applause to everyone involved and a big thank you to our customers."

 

- Ash Grabowski, Business Development Manager at Ami Education

 

Impact of integrated Chip & Pin

Here at Ami Education, we help schools deliver a quick and consistent school meal service through our cashless catering technology. This new Chip & Pin integration with our Infinity+ cashless solution allows schools to boost sales with increased uptake of catering at school events and parent evenings and by opening up their catering offering to visitors. There are enormous time and monetary savings in switching to this integrated method, especially for our customers currently utilising 3rd party Chip & Pin payment providers.

   

Want to book a demonstration with our team?
Book a call today.

 Or take a look at our Chip & Pin and Infinity+ solutions here.

   

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Celebrating 1,000 LinkedIn Followers

Since we first joined LinkedIn a few years ago, we have been utilising the social network to keep our followers up to date with our education solutions, Transact and Infinity+. We have been sharing the latest industry news and gaining an insight into our follower's opinions on specific subjects. LinkedIn has been our go-to tool to introduce the world to our innovative education solutions.  


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We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has followed our LinkedIn account, supporting us through liking, sharing and commenting on our content. We can't wait to continue growing our online presence and reach more industry professionals than ever before in the coming years.  

 

Why do professionals use LinkedIn? 

LinkedIn is a powerful social platform and one of the largest global online networks used to build new industry connections, search for job prospects, learn insights from your favourite businesses and discover new leads via B2B content. LinkedIn's goal is to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. 
 
The social platform has an estimated audience of over 830 million members in more than 200 countries. LinkedIn has proven worthwhile to thousands of employers and job seekers, with 122 million people receiving an interview through LinkedIn. Unsurprisingly, three people are hired through LinkedIn every minute.  

Many educational professionals worldwide use LinkedIn to network and connect with fellow professionals. However, LinkedIn can do more than just networking. Other features like joining groups such as 'Teacher Leadership Network' can help educational professionals to connect, join in with discussions, learn from other educators, share best practices or even discover new technology like Infinity+ Software.

  
LinkedIn is known to be vital for discovering leads. B2B marketers have reported that 80% of their social media leads come from LinkedIn, and 40% see LinkedIn as the most effective channel for driving high-quality leads. LinkedIn is a brilliant tool for sharing insider knowledge, personal stories, awareness days, polls and resources with other professionals in the industry. 

 

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For example, on the ami Education LinkedIn page, we have recently published a free guide on why 'pre-ordering solutions are important for schools'—identifying problems that schools could face, like food waste and how our Infinity+ Order app can solve this.  
 
Whether you want to get involved with industry awareness days, have access to free guides and knowledge or stay up to date with our exciting development, follow our LinkedIn page to get started! Thank you for your continued support.