Frequently asked questions about school meals.

How much does a school meal cost?

School Type Cost
Nursery £2.50
Primary £2.60
Post-Primary £2.80
Special School  £2.60

What is on a school menu?

Menus are developed to ensure that they incorporate customers ‘likes and dislikes’ as well as considering nutritional balance, cost and variety.

What are your procedures for purchasing food?

All Education Authority Offices collectively purchase goods from reputable suppliers. EA Procurement Service complies with Northern Ireland Public Procurement Policy (NIPPP) and Central Procurement Directorate Procurement Guidance Notes.

Are all school catering staff trained?

All catering staff receive training to ensure the highest standards of food safety, food preparation, menu planning and how to provide a healthier school meals service. 

Some examples of the variety of training which we provide to catering staff include:

  • Initial induction training
  • Educator training course
  • Food hygiene training
  • Health and Safety Training including first aid, fire equipment training and manual handling
  • Nutrition awareness and special diets

We are also able to accommodate schools with training for their staff at a cost. If you are interested in this service, please contact us for further information. 

What procedures are in place to ensure food hygiene in school kitchens?

All school meals premises are registered with the environmental health department at its local Council. Environmental health officers inspect our premises regularly, make recommendations where necessary and provide a ‘hygiene rating’. 

The food hygiene rating system is run by local Councils in partnership with the Food Standards Agency and shows how closely the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law. The hygiene ratings for all food businesses can be checked at the Food Standards Agency website.

As of October 2016, it has been mandatory for all food businesses in Northern Ireland, including those in schools, to display their food hygiene rating to customers. Some schools may have several different hygiene ratings if there are a number of food businesses operating under different management within the school. A school which receives school meals from the Education Authority, but operates its own breakfast club is an example of this. The different hygiene ratings provided for each food business will have to be displayed and in such a way that pupils and staff can easily distinguish which rating applies to which business. 

It is important to note however that certain food operations within schools are considered to be “low risk”, such as a healthy break scheme where fruit is simply washed and sliced. A food hygiene rating is not required in this instance.  

For further information on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Last updated: 26/04/2022