Mike Haslin, Chief Executive Officer at TUCO, The University Caterers Organisation, discusses how to achieve value for money in these unpredictable times
Deserved praise for hardworking schools
Marine Primary Academy was crowned winners of the Educational Visits Award, sponsored by Rainforest Cafe. Throughout their time at Marine Primary Academy, pupils are provided with a huge range of subject specific educational visits, all of which are fully funded by the Academy at no cost to Parents/Carers. Children from Year 5 were provided with the opportunity for a once in a lifetime trip to Lapland. The Academy worked with experienced polar explorers to plan and fundraise for the trip, which combined interactive workshops with outdoor learning and confidence building. Recognised for educating pupils about healthy eating and providing them with many opportunities to try different foods,
Charlton Manor Primary won the School Catering Award, presented by JJ Foodservice. The varied palette of flavours ensures pupils receive the necessary nutrition for their developing bodies. The chef together with his team continually finds ways of reducing sugar and cutting out salt and fat. Fresh produce is grown in the school garden and community garden as well as the eggs from the hens and the honey from the bees. The chef also runs the school café, which is open to parents and the community every day before and after school and on Saturdays from 10am–2pm.
Health & Safety
Clare Mount Specialist Sports College won the Excellence in Health and Safety Award, sponsored by the Norse Group. For the Community Café at Clare Mount, pupils have to complete a health and safety checklist before opening. To ensure the produce is stored safely, the checklist includes checking the fridge temperatures, making sure the fridge is stocked properly and throwing away any out-of-date produce. The pupils are trained to identify fire exits and to maintain clear exits at all times. They are also trained to know the emergency evacuation procedure which includes a method of roll call for staff and any visiting customers. In May, the café was inspected by the Food Standards Agency and given the top rating of 5.
For saving its schools much needed cash, the School Procurement Award, sponsored by Awesome Apps, went to Stour Academy Trust. The Stour Academy Trust currently comprises seven schools. In July 2017, it had three external catering providers and two in-house school catering services, all of which were hard to manage. The Trust sought the help of Schools Buying Club to assist as an independent consultant with the tendering process. The three year deal with a single supplier created a saving of £62.5k, with the supplier also investing in new equipment – a considerable saving in the current financial climate.
The School Security Award, sponsored by Garran Lockers, was awarded to Barnston Primary. Due to its declining budget, Barnston began leasing car parking spaces to parents in order to raise money for improved security, which includes a high definition CCTV system, a sophisticated key fob system at the front entrance of the school and a lock down system which alerts staff and children of an intruder, distinctive from the fire alarm procedure system. This includes a signal call out for the head teacher and a separate one for the deputy.
The Parking Management & Travel Planning Award, sponsored by the British Parking Association, went to the University of Leeds. With 8,000 staff and 33,000 students, the University of Leeds has introduced a number of car parking management systems to address demand for parking on campus, including a needs based permit application process, automatic number plate recognition cameras, paystations and back office systems to help manage the complex needs of the organisation. The University also decided to process enforcement notices in-house which involves dealing with the DVLA and debt recovery firms. In order to encourage the growth in electric vehicles, the University offers free electricity charging and has expanded the number of charging points.