Catering staff at Arley Primary School celebrate national catering award

An Educaterers primary school catering team from Warwickshire has won an award from the UK’s national school catering industry body.

An Educaterers primary school catering team from Warwickshire has won an award from the UK’s national school catering industry body, in recognition of their achievements in bringing the local community together in their small village in the north of the county.

The Educaterers catering team from Arley Primary School, which is at the heart of the former mining village on the outskirts of Coventry, won the ‘Primary School Catering Team of the Year’ title in the LACA Awards for Excellence 2021, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday (13th October) at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. They were one of only three school catering teams from across the UK who had been short-listed.

The LACA Awards acknowledge individuals and teams who continue to make a real difference to school food and education catering.

The Arley Primary School Team consists of Educaterers employees Head of Kitchen, Melanie Davies, and Catering Assistants, Kim Ryder and Kylie Sheridan.

The team play a big part in the local community by arranging the summer and Christmas fayres for the school, as well as a fun day for the children at the end of the summer, to which all are welcome.

The team enjoy making lunchtime a fun experience for all the children. During the pandemic, the children ate in their classrooms and the catering team really missed them coming into the dining room.

So, where possible, they went to visit the pupils in their classrooms instead, talking to them about the food, their likes and dislikes, and providing support and encouragement, which was much needed. This resulted in lots of smiling faces all round.

Mel buys small prizes such as books, small educational toys and treats for the children as rewards for things like trying something new on the menu. This really encourages the children, and Educaterers’ school lunches have never been more popular.

Managing Director of Educaterers, Caroline Alexander, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to announce that our amazing Educaterers team at Arley Primary School are now officially the LACA Primary School Catering Team of the Year 2021.

“Congratulations to Mel, Kim and Kylie - they beat off some very stiff competition from across the whole of England. Educaterers are immensely proud of them, and the award is very well deserved.

“The team go the extra mile to further enhance the children’s enjoyment of our school lunch menus each day – and the pupils are delighted!

“Their food displays are amazing, not just for themed menu days but for everyday meal service, such as a vegetable sticks train to encourage the children to use the salad bar.

“The team truly integrate food into the life of the school, with lunch being an important part of the school day. Our team are respected as important staff members in the school and food is part of the pupils’ rounded education.”

Lexie Gardner, Chair of Governors at Arley Primary School said, “Melanie and her team are an amazing group of ladies, representing our school to the level of excellence our children deserve. The ladies truly do go above and beyond, and the children sit at the heart of everything they do.” 

School Headteacher, Linda Kelly, said: “We are so very lucky to have our team. The quality of food, atmosphere and kindness is equally matched by the cleanliness of the kitchen, at any time of the day.  They are loved by the children and staff alike.  Well done the Arley team!”

Educaterers serve up over 120,000 nutritious tasty meals a week in over 200 schools and colleges in Warwickshire, Coventry, Leicestershire, Birmingham and Oxfordshire.

For more information on Educaterers, visit www.educaterers.co.uk

Published: 18th October 2021