William Bellamy Primary School | Case studies

Case Studies

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William Bellamy Primary School

William Bellamy Primary School in Dagenham

BD Together provides the catering for William Bellamy primary school in Dagenham which has over 1000 pupils.  The team at William Bellamy work tirelessly to ensure that the children receive healthy and tasty meals, listening continuously to feedback from the children to ensure they love their school lunches. They were shortlisted in the Primary School Catering Team of the Year Award in the 2020 LACA Awards for Excellence, thanks to their hard work and enthusiasm.

The team are enthusiastic, dedicated and their number one priority is the wellbeing of the children. They pride themselves on the quality of the food they produce, exemplary health and safety standards and working harmoniously as one team, which is reflected in the way they work with the children and the staff.

The kitchens are always well run, the staff are punctual, well-presented and always full of enthusiasm. And above all, the food they produce is loved by the children! They are held in high regard by everyone in the school community; the staff, the children and the parents.

The team are so much more than cooks; they are at the very heart of the school. Their menus are healthy, delicious, nutritious and above all, popular with the children. They are very responsive and adaptable, happy to cater for all dietary requirements.  They are always there to liaise with parents who have concerns about their child’s personal preferences or want information on allergens. They work closely with the Operational Team to produce special menus for children with food allergies, ensuring these children still feel included in the lunch service, knowing that their food is safe and still as delicious as everyone else’s.

The children and parents always speak highly of the lunch service, in particular how they are cooked freshly each day in the school kitchens, made with fresh ingredients and always look appealing.  

The catering team always attend parents’ evenings at the school to showcase the range of food and menu options that they are able to provide and to reassure parents of children with special dietary requirements that they needs are catered for.

The team has arranged taster sessions so that parents can see and try what is on offer for their children, and to encourage children to try new dishes before they go on the menu. Following taster sessions, and listening to feedback from the children, they worked with BD Together’s Food Development Team to create a unique menu for the school, so that the menu reflects the likes and dislikes of the school and not the whole borough. This has resulted in an increase in the meal uptake across the whole school, increasing year on year by 10%. - plus happy children, clean plates and minimal waste!

The team regularly attend Student Council meetings with the children to discuss the lunches. This gives them direct and regular feedback from the ‘customers’ themselves. They listen carefully to feedback, positive and negative, and respond accordingly immediately, removing unpopular choices and adding new options. These regular meetings with the children mean the children know the team in the kitchen and that there is a mutual respect.

Theme days are a big part of the school calendar at William Bellamy and the team, staff and children look forward to them and fully embrace the theme with great enthusiasm. At Christmas there was 96% attendance at the Christmas lunch along with 80 staff; a huge achievement.

At the end of every academic year, the catering team with the assistance of the Head Teacher arrange a Leavers BBQ for the Year 6 children.

The team have achieved the Healthy Schools Gold status.

William Bellamy Primary School was BD Together’s ambassador for the 2019 Food For life inspection. They gained a silver accreditation and are now working towards gold.

Covid-19

During the first lockdown, the team wanted to ensure the children who were still attending school that they were eating a nutritious lunch, knowing that for some that this would be the only proper meal they would have each day. They still continued to provide a varied and healthy menu that appealed to the children who were attending school.

For these children, the team arranged special days to keep spirits up. This included holding a celebration for VE Day with a social distancing buffet held outside that all were welcome to attend.  The kitchen team embraced the fun side of this and appeared dressed up as the Royal Family, much to the amusement of the children. The day was a huge success and the feedback was that it “put a smile on my face during a hard time for everyone.”

The team were part of the BD Together team that were responsible for packing and delivering thousands of food hampers to children within the borough of Barking and Dagenham.  They would go to William Bellamy School to distribute the hampers personally to parents, knowing that this would give them the opportunity to ask the parents how the children were and to send message back to the children with their best wishes.

Healthy, nutritious recipe cards were included in the hampers so that the parents could cook with their children as part of their learning from home. The William Bellamy team worked tirelessly during a time of adversity and they did not complain once, instead embracing their additional workload, knowing that they were making a real difference to families in need or isolation.

The team at William Bellamy are fantastic ambassadors for BD Together, the school community and the wider community of Barking and Dagenham.  And above all, the children at their school are their top priority. They go above and beyond every single day and their colleagues at BD Together are proud of them and their continual efforts, hard work and dedication.

 

“Nothing is too big for our kitchen staff!! They are always up for a challenge and to give new things a go to support the children in our school. Both teams are always friendly and focused with lovely interactions with the children.

“Managed by the incredibly organised and efficient Claire Fox…in her words “You are only ever as good as the team you work with.”

“What a team!! William Bellamy Primary School are incredibly blessed to have such a dedicated team in both kitchens and we could not be any more proud of our staff!”

School Business Manager
William Bellamy Primary School

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