School meals

Food allergies and special diets in schools

Food allergies amongst children are becoming more common.

It is estimated that between 5 and 8% of children in the UK have a food intolerance or allergy.

South Tyneside Council is committed to making sure that children who need a special diet can enjoy a tasty lunch every day in school.

If your child has an allergy, intolerance or requires a medically-prescribed diet

To help us provide your child with a meal service that meets their individual needs, this is the process we follow:

  1. Inform your child's school as soon as you are aware that your child has an allergy.
  2. The school will contact the Council's catering team to let them know about your child's needs.
  3. If the allergy is severe, it is likely that a dietician or school nurse will be involved in menu planning for your child, and preparing an individual Risk Assessment. A catering officer will determine whether your child's meal can be prepared on site, or whether the meal should be prepared elsewhere and delivered to your child's school. Meals will be offered when a Risk Assessment has been done, expert advice sought from medical professionals, and appropriate training delivered to catering staff. It is important to note that caterers cannot guarantee that meals are allergen-free.
  4. A meeting will be arranged for you (parent / carer), a School Cook, and a Catering Officer to discuss your child's dietary needs. If a meeting is difficult for you it may be possible to discuss your child's meals on the phone, however a meeting is recommended.
  5. Our School Cook and the kitchen team will be trained to make sure that all staff understand your child's needs. Please note that it is not always possible to offer a menu choice.
  6. We will ask your permission to keep a photo of your child discreetly behind the kitchen counter in a file, so that catering staff can recognise your child in the lunch queue.
  7. We recommend that children requiring a special diet wear a purple wrist band at lunchtimes, and at all other times when they may have food or drink in school e.g. breakfast club, after school club, school parties.

Please note that although we take great care to make sure meals are safe for those with allergies, we cannot guarantee 100% that our meals are allergen-free.

Peanuts, nuts or peanut-based products

We do not knowingly use peanuts, nuts or peanut-based products in our school meals.

Some products may be produced in a factory where nuts and peanuts are used, and therefore contamination of these products may happen.

We cannot guarantee that all products are always nut free and peanut free.

If your child needs a special diet

If your child needs a special diet, please contact us on 0191 427 7000 to discuss your child's requirements.

More information

If you would like information about the ingredients we use in our school recipes, please contact us on 0191 427 7000.