Food in schools

Croydon Food Flagship

Croydon Food Flagship aimed to encourage people to grow their own food, learn to cook healthier meals and understand the importance of a balanced, nutritious diet in preventing obesity.

About Croydon Food Flagship

Croydon used food to: transform the environment, improve health, tackle obesity and reduce health inequalities in the borough.

Croydon wanted children and their families to know how to grow and cook healthy, affordable food. 

Flagship status allowed Croydon to play a leading role in improving London’s food system, by sharing what they learnt with other boroughs.

Croydon's plan included:

  • developing food businesses: supporting innovative ideas for providing healthy food to local communities
  • providing community grants: supporting innovative ideas for growing and cooking healthy food
  • starting a child hunger project: working with families with young children at risk of food poverty to access healthy meals and improve parental cooking skills
  • encouraging a whole-school approach to healthy eating: involving pupils, teachers, parents and guardians in growing, from reception onwards
  • promoting community gardening projects

This work complemented Croydon's ongoing plans to help residents lead longer, healthier lives after being awarded Heart Town status by the British Heart Foundation in 2013.

Councillor Louisa Woodley (Croydon’s cabinet member for families, health and social care) said:

Flagship status will provide the opportunity to use food to transform our environment, improve health, tackle obesity and reduce inequalities in Croydon.


Croydon's School Food Plan

The Croydon School Food Plan supported head teachers, caterers, staff, pupils and parents or guardians during the first two years of the Food Flagship programme.

It aimed to help schools meet and exceed the best practice recommendations of the National School Food Plan.

Croydon’s Food Flagship schools

Croydon's Food Flagship schools were:

  • Rockmount Primary 
  • Addington High
  • Fairchildes Primary

The schools wanted to move children and adults away from sweet, fizzy drinks and foods high in fat, salt and sugar. They wanted to entice pupils back to school dinners by offering more nutritious menus and improving the overall dining experience.

To achieve this, their projects included:

  • creating ‘edible playgrounds’
  • improving breakfast clubs
  • embedding food education into their curriculum
  • building on their food, crop growing and gardening projects
  • cooking classes with pupils, teachers and parents

This work operated in partnership with Croydon’s existing Healthy Schools Programme.


Councillor Alisa Flemming (Croydon’s cabinet member for children, young people and learning) supported the project, saying:

Our new flagship schools will transform the local food environment – and this is something worth celebrating. These schools, along with others in Croydon, are teaching us vital life skills, in particular that cooking doesn’t have to be a boring chore and healthy meals can be fun, creative, affordable and easy to prepare.

Check out some of the fantastic work going on in Croydon's Flagship schools!

Croydon Food Flagship partnership projects

Learn more about other food projects Croydon worked in partnership with across the borough.

Food Partnership Board

The Food Partnership Board was established as a joint partnership, central to Croydon’s food plans.

Board members led projects to improve the food environment and provide more opportunities for healthier living across the borough. In particular, the board focused on working with parents and guardians and the wider community so that:

  • more families could eat good quality food in and out of home
  • more families could cook healthier meals
  • more food eaten in Croydon could be grown locally
Healthy Schools Programme

Croydon has a successful Healthy Schools Programme which supports pupils to make healthy food choices and be more active. It also focuses on other areas, such as reducing risk-taking and developing anti-bullying practices.

Schools achieve an award by completing an audit of what they have done every two years. Most schools in Croydon have achieved a Croydon Healthy Schools award, which also entitles them to the bronze award on the Greater London Authority London Healthy Schools programme, which celebrates schools making a difference for their pupils.

Schools can find out more about the Healthy Schools Programme by contacting Shelley Davies:[email protected].

Good Food Matters

Croydon worked in partnership with the Good Food Matters Community Food Learning Centre in New Addington, Croydon.

Good Food Matters is a charity dedicated to helping people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds to build healthier lifestyles. It hosts cooking and food growing lessons, which support both children and adults.

Eat Well Croydon

Eat Well Croydon is a voluntary scheme for food outlets in Croydon, encouraging them to develop healthier practices. Making small changes in food choices, preparation and cooking methods can make a big difference to customers’ diet and health and overall customer satisfaction.

Food consumed outside of the home tends to be higher in saturated fats and salt than food eaten at home. A diet high in saturated fats and salt is linked to cardiovascular disease, which is the UK’s biggest killer.

By June 2015 twenty local food businesses had signed up to the scheme since it began and achieved the Eat Well Croydon award for demonstrating a commitment to offering healthier options.

For more information about this scheme you can contact Deborah Norman:[email protected].

Healthy Business Project

The healthy businesses project supported fifteen individuals to turn their healthy food business idea into a sustainable business. It was led by the Council’s Economic Development team with free training run by the Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency (GCDA), which has expertise in the areas of health and sustainability. The course, specifically set up for healthy food businesses, covered the fundamental elements of running a food business, including financial planning, sourcing produce, and managing food production, as well as marketing the business.

A number of the businesses that received training and mentoring support ran a new pop-up healthy food zone from 12 January 2017 in Croydon and sold their locally sourced, healthy food.

Community Gardening

This was an ambitious community gardening project which began in June 2015. It supported and trained residents to become master gardeners and food buddies.