Healthy eating, along with physical activity, is essential to promoting and maintaining good health and wellbeing, and can improve behaviours that are critical to educational success and performance at school. Proper nutrition is particularly important for children.
A school, in conjunction with their community, may decide to operate a school food program. School food programs can be funded by:
- the school
- the school's
- an external organisation (e.g. charity, local business) willing to support the program
- a combination of these approaches.
Food provided through school food programs must meet the requirements of the Smart Choices
healthy food and drink supply strategy for Queensland schools.
In 2023, the Queensland Government is providing funding to 861 identified state schools to enhance their food programs. Schools will be notified and receive funding in Term 4 2023.
The Department of Education will also provide grants of up to $20,000 to food providers (such as registered charities or not-for-profits) to support the delivery of food programs in Queensland state schools through an expression of interest process. It is expected the grants will open on QGrants platform in November 2023.
list of schools that will receive funding for existing or new food programs.
Case study: Wulguru State School
Wulguru State School in North Queensland operates a breakfast club and a lunch program with the support of the school and local community. Both programs are free and open to all 233 students to support their health and wellbeing as well as their engagement with school and learning outcomes.
The breakfast club is supported by food donations from Fuel for Schools Ltd. and Woolworths at Fairfield Waters. Students can choose to eat toast with a variety of spreads, cereal and fresh fruit to get them ready for a great day of learning.
The school’s Healthy Eats committee, made up of volunteers, school staff and students, prepares and serves the food to students.
The YMCA breakfast program provides food vouchers to Wulguru State School to support both of these programs along with additional support to families in the form of vouchers for groceries.
The Eat Up lunch program is supported by Rotary who delivers sandwiches and fruit to the school for any students that need lunch to maintain a full day of learning.
The breakfast and lunch programs help build a culture where students feel cared for and have access to fresh healthy food to maintain their wellbeing. The programs also create an opportunity to model and practice the values of kindness, sharing and care between staff and students as they come together to prepare and serve the food and then sit and eat together.
Being able to meet the basic needs for the students and provide support to their families creates a connection with the school that results in increased student attendance and engagement.
The staff and students at Wulguru State School appreciate the generous support provided from their local and broader community partners. This support enables these programs to continue to foster the health, wellbeing and learning outcomes of the students.