Best Practice

How to create a calmer dining hall in your school

Lunchtime can often be one of the louder parts of the school day. Author of a new book on calm dining halls, Jenny Mosley, offers her advice on achieving the perfect lunchtime atmosphere

As I travel around schools, I see evidence of innovative practice in many areas – but in the majority of schools the noisiest, messiest, least happy place is the dining hall.

Common sense tells us we need calm children and staff at lunchtime and research reinforces this. The School Food Trust (2010) – now the Children’s Food Trust – reported that “primary school pupils were more alert and over three times more likely to be ‘on-task’ working ... following an intervention to improve the dining environment and the nutritional quality of the food served”.

Brooks (2013) re-iterated our core belief that only by giving attention to the whole child including physical and mental wellbeing can we release their full potential. It is timely therefore that Ofsted has now stated their intention to include the dining hall in their observations.

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