New standards governing the school food workforce have been unveiled by LACA (the Lead Association for Catering in Education)

There are over 80,000 people working in school food – making it a bigger workforce than the Royal Navy – and between them they feed 4.6 million children a day.

One of the actions of the School Food Plan was to set up a Workforce Development Group to “create a set of commonly-accepted professional standards, detailing, by levels of required competence or responsibility, what skills should be expected of school catering staff in different positions”.

Over the last year, this group has worked with school cooks, caterers and People 1st (the hospitality skills sector body) to develop the professional standards which cover a range of job roles, including:

• Head of kitchen (catering manager/head chef)
• School cook
• Assistant cook
• General kitchen / catering assistant
• Midday supervisor

Carrieanne Bishop, LACA chair, said: “LACA recognises that there is a raft of exceptional dedicated and skilled staff in schools across the UK, feeding the next generation, and the standards will ensure that they get the recognition they deserve.”

John Vincent, co-author of the School Food Plan, added: “The School Food workforce has a range of skills that many in the industry envy. These professional standards, tested and scrutinised by our incredible workforce, have the opportunity to be a game changer. They will raise standards and ensure the rest of the catering sector can see the amazing jobs being done in our school kitchens and dining halls every day.”