School meals

Eating a healthy diet

The government encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty, and nutritious food and drink. We recognise the importance of a healthy diet for the well being of our whole community and we work with our catering partner, HCL, to make sure that the food provided meets the requirements of the School Food Regulations 2014, and accords with our overall vision and values.

Children are encouraged to make healthy food choices at school. As well as providing daily fresh fruit we hold regular workshops to promote good eating behaviour.

There’s a choice of meal every day, always including a vegetarian option.

Current costs for school meals are available from the school office. Parents may pay termly, half termly, or weekly.
Please send payment in cash or cheque (made payable to Hertfordshire County Council) in a sealed envelope with your child’s name clearly marked. For ease of administration, the correct money should be enclosed.

Our catering partner

The meals we provide in school are supplied by HCL, an experienced education caterers which delivers catering services to schools and colleges within and beyond the greater-Hertfordshire area. You can find out more about HCL by following the link below.

School meals are cooked on site at Bayford and served in the school hall. HCL do not include peanut or tree nut as an ingredient or use products that carry “may contain peanut or tree nut traces” labelling. The daily menu changes over a three week cycle and you can always find out what’s on the menu every day, and more detailed nutritional information designed to help people with diabetes, by following the second link below.

Allergies and special diets

If a child has an allergy, or needs to follow a special diet for reasons of faith or family lifestyle choices, it’s easy to sort that out. If the regular menu does not meet your needs (for example if you are vegan), you can contact HCL directly using the link below, and set up an account. The application process is a quick, easy, and secure way to receive one of HCL’s specially designed menus. HCL produce over 30 different menus for children requiring special diets for medical or other reasons. Once you’ve created your secure HCL menu account, it’s easy to update it with additional information, to advise that your child no longer requires a special menu or that they have moved to a new school

Photograph of catering staff at Bayford School

Free school meals

Nursery school children aren’t entitled to free school meals.

Infants (Reception class and Year 1 and Year 2) are all entitled to a free school meal regardless of household income or circumstances.

Please register infant children for free meals if you think you would qualify under the arrangements for older children because, if you do register, the school could get extra funding (called ‘Pupil Premium’) to pay for things like additional staff time, extra computers, books, and trips for students.

From Year 3 onwards your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

If your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll remain eligible until March 2023, or until they finish their current phase of schooling (primary or secondary), if that’s after the end of March 2023.

For free meals in Year 3 and above parents should check their eligibility and apply through Hertfordshire County Council using the link below. It takes 5 minutes and in most cases they can tell you straightaway if your child can get free meals at school. If you prefer, you can call 0300 123 4048.

School milk

School milk in nursery – all children get a free choice of whole milk or semi-skimmed, funded by the NHS.

School milk in reception, year 1 and year 2 – schools provide free milk for all children, up until their 5th birthday. If that birthday falls during a term, they won’t get free milk from that term onwards.

After that, most children who have registered for free school meals can continue to get free milk, except for children who get Universal Income free school meals.

Otherwise your child can continue to receive milk at school, until the end of the term in which they are 11 years old, but there is a charge. The current price is available from the school office. Milk should be paid for in advance, term by term, before the start of each term.

Packed lunches

School meals are not compulsory and you may prefer your children to eat healthy food which is brought from home.

You can also choose to have school meals on some days and packed lunches on others. Your child can choose which day/s they would like to eat a school lunch provided by HCL. Please liaise directly with us in school and we will be able to organise this for you with our HCL catering team.

Children who bring in packed lunches can eat the food they have brought from home in a safe and social environment. During warm weather, children can enjoy their packed lunch outside.They are not marginalised or excluded in any way.

Drinking water is provided free of charge at all times on school premises.

Packed lunches should come to school in a strong container clearly marked with your child’s name. Please do not use glass containers or send any knives. Please don’t include items like nuts or peanut butter just in case they cause another child, or an adult, a serious, potentially fatal, problem. Our school community includes people with serious allergies.

This page was last updated on 15th June 2022