The Better Lunchtimes Mark

The Better Lunchtimes Mark


of schools recommend our Better Lunchtimes Mark programme

At School Health UK we believe every child deserves to have the best lunchtime experience, as it is a fundamental part of the whole school day. Our Better Lunchtimes Mark programme achieves this by optimising all aspects of lunchtime, enabling children and staff to be their calmest, happiest and most proactive selves during healthy and efficient lunchtimes.

Every lunchtime and every school are unique, but there are common areas of lunchtimes which are often overlooked, and by addressing these areas we can directly achieve significant improvements to children’s experiences of lunchtimes and positively influence healthy habits and social skills.

The Components of a Better Lunchtime

Pupils and staff all enjoying lunchtime

Increased take-up of school meals

A smoother running lunch service

Healthier and more nutritious lunchboxes

Organised playground zones offering a variety of activities

Reduced incidents during and after lunchtime

Happier and more motivated lunchtime staff

Calmer, happier pupils

A whole school approach to lunchtimes and health

Development of a Better Lunchtimes Review Committee, representing the whole school community


of headteachers reported improvements in behaviour at lunchtime

What to expect from the Better Lunchtimes Mark programme:


We offer three different packages to schools, ranging from one single visit to whole week’s worth, all offering an expert pair of eyes to evaluate and support you and your school team for as much as you need us.  


If you opt for our Bronze Better Lunchtimes Mark programme, a member of the SHUK team will visit your school to conduct our comprehensive audit exploring all aspects of lunchtimes including but not limited to: the whole experience, healthy eating and catering, the dining space, and the outdoor space. We’ll speak to pupils and staff to investigate concerns and anxieties, observe the confidence and understanding of undertaking key lunchtime roles, and ensure the outdoor provision is organised in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible.

Upon completing our lunchtime audit, we will have a debrief with you – providing verbal feedback and discussing key actions that should be implemented at your school based on the observations made. All of this will be collated into your Better Lunchtimes Mark Report, which will be provided alongside resources, action pages, and a checklist to enable you and your team to independently implement changes and make the most of your lunchtimes.


Our Silver programme builds upon this, offering you support in implementing the actions provided on your report. The second visit to your school enables us to work closely with the lunch team, supporting and leading them on embedding the changes. We will meet with a newly formed Better Lunchtimes Review Committee – representing all key parties related to lunchtimes including SLT, midday supervisors, and caterers – to discuss and plan progress. This proactive approach to implementing lunchtime changes will ensure any questions or barriers are resolved during this visit, leaving staff more confident and clear in their roles – empowering them to establish a better lunchtime experience for your school. Of course, if you decide you would like additional support following this visit we can book extra dates into the diary to further assist your lunchtime team. 

Once a better lunchtime is successfully embedded at your school, SHUK will return to your school to conduct a re-audit and provide you with a new score. You will then be awarded your Better Lunchtimes Mark certificate!


Our Gold programme is our most popular programme, offering the most comprehensive and effective support in enabling a better lunchtime. Following your initial audit, you will have three days of support prior to a re-audit being conducted. This programme is very rewarding, as it provides you with the most support and achieves the most efficient improvements to the whole of lunchtime.

Day Two includes meeting with you, prior to taking a hands on, operational approach to leading implementation of the actions during lunchtime. After this, we meet with all present midday supervisors to debrief with them – hear their thoughts, resolve their barriers, and ensure they are empowered and confident in embedding the changes going forward. Day Three involves continuing to have a supportive presence at lunchtime, and chairing a meeting with the Better Lunchtimes Review Committee. Day Four will be the final day of supporting the implementation of a better lunchtime, by which point all key parties will be confident in their roles, with changes refined and a clear action plan outlined going forward for final changes. The fifth day allows for the re-audit to evaluate the successes you have had in embedding a new lunchtime experience, and your school will be awarded the Better Lunchtimes Mark certificate!

The Extra Mile

For those schools wishing to go that extra mile, you are encouraged to bolt on our Positive Pledge staff training, as an INSET/Twilight session hosted by former head teacher and previous MAT regional director – Rachel Gallyott.

Positive pledge forms part of a holistic approach to improving lunchtimes; it aims to help schools establish a positive and respectful culture through a whole school approach. This practical course helps schools to develop strategies and an approach to support all staff to feel empowered to deal with behaviour in a calm and effective way. Consistency is key and we will explore how this can be achieved in pragmatic ways that build on the work of the Education Endowment Fund, Paul Dix and Tom Bennett. 

Please see more here

Get in touch if your school needs a Better Lunchtime.