The introduction of UIFSM and the challenge of ‘hub’ school kitchens transporting meals to partner primary schools was what led Sheffield City Council to review meal delivery and introduce free-standing PKL KitchenPods to deliver freshly made lunches on-site at three local schools.
Sheffield City Council’s School Meals Food Service was proactive in assessing what the impact of UIFSM would be across all schools in its estate. Loxley Primary, Stannington Infant and Beighton Nursery Infant School in South Yorkshire were identified as schools where it was going to be a particular challenge. Loxley and Stannington School were CMP (container meal point) schools with all of their meals transported on site from nearby provider schools using thermal boxes. As well as the usual concerns regarding food quality, food safety and menu flexibility, the schools were also anxious about the increased numbers of school meals required and the practicality of transporting so many from the CMP schools.
The third school, Beighton Nursery Infant School had no catering facilities on-site at all, with children having to walk to the Junior School next door for lunch. This put increased pressure on both school staff as children had to be escorted every lunch time, and on the capacity and facilities of the meal provider school next door.
Sheffield’s School Meals Service identified these as ideal sites for modular kitchens – location and existing infrastructure meant that there was no possibility of building a permanent kitchen. Supplied completely fitted out, ready to simply ‘plug in and go’ PKL’s modular KitchenPods offer schools the opportunity to create their own kitchen on site to deliver school meals without having to build a new kitchen and possibly give up valuable teaching space to do so.
PKL worked together with the council to overcome hurdles involved with the installation process – due to the sizing and positioning of all three sites, planning permission was required. At Loxley School, works involved tackling a sloping site and a very narrow and steep access which proved challenging for a pod installation. A high lift over trees and road closure at Stannington was also managed by the PKL team, who are used to overcoming tricky installations on-site.
Andy Siberry-Scott, Development and Compliance Officer, School Food Service, Sheffield City Council was involved throughout the process, from interpreting the impact of UIFSM through to commissioning and project managing the works and installation, and being in school on the first meal service from the new pods.
“It was important that we involved all the key stakeholders in order to ensure that we could deliver a meals service that met the individual needs of the schools. Having their own kitchens and food cooked on-site is great and the feedback has been very positive. The quality of the food is much better, the schools have more flexibility and greater influence on menus and the children are enjoying their lunches too. As a result, lunch take up numbers have not only doubled but in the case of Beighton, are more than three times more than pre-UFISM.”
Sheffield City Council
New school kitchens for UIFSM