Dereham’s Neatherd High School achieves Food for Life gold award

Neatherd High School has been awarded a Food for Life Gold award - Chef Graeme Baker. Picture: Matth

Neatherd High School has been awarded a Food for Life Gold award - Chef Graeme Baker. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Great food and green fingers have led to a school winning a national award.

Neatherd High School has been awarded a Food for Life Gold Award becoming the only high school in England to hold the honour.

The achievement requires school's to show that they use ethically produced ingredients, support local producers and promote healthy eating.

The award is largely down to the hard work of teacher Will Clennell, chef Graeme Baker, his staff, and the school's School Nutrition Action Group (SNAG), which is made up of pupils.

Headteacher Peter Devenish said: 'You can just smell the food and see the pupils enjoy it.

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'It is no mean feat to get the gold award. It requires a lot of work and proof of what you are doing. There are spreadsheets for everything.

'We think it is really important for the children to have good healthy food at school. I think it is good for their education and you can see how happy they are.'

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Visits have been made to local businesses and farms to help the SNAG team better understand where food comes from and how it is produced.

The school's gardening club have also grown herbs and salad which have been used by Mr Baker and his team in the school kitchen.

SNAG member James Payton, 14, said: 'It has been very enjoyable. It has been hard work so it is nice to be given the award.

'As part of the gardening club we grow all sorts of things when they are in season and it definitely tastes better when you know you grew it yourself.'

Emily Jessop, 13, added: 'We've been working with local people and local farmers and local schools.

'We have been reporting to them what we have been doing.

'Everyone has been getting really involved.'

As the hordes descend on the canteen at lunchtime it is down to one man to ensure that everything is ready.

With a background in the Army Mr Baker is used to getting large amounts of healthy food ready quickly.

He said: 'There are similarities to the Army. The portions are a bit smaller.

'The children really enjoy it and it has definitely got more popular as time has gone on.

'The difficulty can be getting them to eat vegetables but we try to make them tasty.

'We try to get them in so they won't realise they are eating them and will just enjoy the food. Today's pizza has celery, tomatoes and so on which they will enjoy.

'The children and staff getting so involved is great because it helps build a rapport.

'We try and listen to the suggestions the children make about what they would like to eat.'

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