The Elvie Munday Churchill Fellowship to investigate factors that enable school lunch programs to impact positively on student health and wellbeing

United Kingdom
Health and Medicine
The Elvie Munday Churchill Fellowship to investigate factors that enable school lunch programs to impact positively on student health and wellbeing featured image

Key Recommendations The following key recommendations are provided from the Fellowship:

  • Develop and commit to a School Food Plan at Federal and State level that feeds all children whilst they are at school.
  • Collection and collation of parent’s and children’s attitudes to the delivery of school lunches to all children to feed into the proposed School Food Plan.
  • An Agricultural procurement process established at State and Territory level that accesses local and Australian produce and develops a sense of pride in our farmed food and their communities that produce such food.
  • A shift in focus from nutrient specific assessment of school menus to a robust focus on the five food groups and serving sizes.
  • School lunches for all students cooked from scratch using minimally processed foods.
  • An appropriately skilled kitchen workforce that are paid for all their hours of work and as a result are valued as part of the school team and therefore cook food happily.
  • The school lunch break provides all children with at least 20 minutes sit down time to enjoy their lunch with their peers and teachers. Play time is in addition to eating time.
  • The only drinks offered at school are plain milk and tap water.
  • All State and Territories to have a ‘no confectionery’ policy in schools.
  • Continue to embrace and empower our school canteen volunteer culture.
  • Continue and enhance the focus of Technology, Health and Physical Education and Science courses that connect the understanding of food systems with student teaching and learning.
  • Increase teaching of children about food literacy and its links to components of the curriculum such as English, Maths, Science and Art, and enhance this teaching through 8 programs such as Canteen Accreditation, Move Well Eat Well (Tasmanian), Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program and the 24 Carrot Program (Tasmanian). Addressing obesity and improving population diets requires a comprehensive government response at Commonwealth and State/Territory levels. The ‘COAG Good Practice Guide – Supporting healthy eating and drinking at school’ 5 will potentially be a cornerstone to action supporting what is needed in our schools to feed our children well. All schools across Australia should offer flavoursome, nutritionally balanced, fresh and locally sourced food that is served by friendly, skilled and happy cooks/chefs/canteen managers in a financially stable and supported school canteen environment.

Julie was a 2021 Policy Impact Program participant and featured in the Policy Features publication with her article Feeding Children Well. Watch his presentation below. You can also watch all PIP presentations here.


Julie Dunbabin

Julie Dunbabin


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