In 2023, we at School Food Matters delivered 530 food education sessions in schools across the country – more cooking, growing and food enterprise than in any other year before.

We also expanded to new areas. Our Young Marketeers programme visited Barking, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Stroud in addition to London, Borough Market. The children collectively raised £2,556 through selling their school-grown produce, with all the money going to great local causes.

Around 1,600 children learned about the vital importance of bees in food production with our Honeybee Programme. Almost 400 children visited a pick-your-own farm to make their very own jam or chutney, as part of our Schools to Market programme.

Our amazing Food Teacher Sharon visited 90 schools to teach children all about cooking healthy, tasty food.

But it’s important that healthy food is prioritised throughout the school day. That’s why our fantastic Healthy Zones team has been helping 50 schools transform their menus and policies, putting children’s health first.

Last month, we had 86 applications for our School Garden Grants programme, which gives schools the funding they need to transform lifeless outdoor spaces into thriving gardens where students can grow fresh fruit and vegetables.

We’ve seen an amazing response to our recently launched ‘We Can Cook’ programme, which teaches primary school children to create simple, tasty dishes over three progressive lessons.

We’ve also continued our vital work on the campaigning front alongside our partners. In September, the Mayor of London rolled out universal primary free school meals across the capital – a programme that will now continue for at least another year. We’ve been campaigning for school food for all across the country, which would ensure children have the nutrition they need to thrive and end the postcode lottery that currently exists.

We also recently commissioned research to uncover the true cost of producing healthy, sustainable school meals. At the moment, funding is inconsistent across schools and many feel it falls short. This research will help determine what the funding level should be.