Nutrition in Schools

All schools should promote healthy eating and good nutrition. School canteens are required to implement the NSW Healthy School Canteens Strategy.

Changes since previous version

2021 Oct 26 - updated policy statement, removing dates relating to the Healthy School Canteens transition period (which is now concluded), adding information for preschools to reflect current practice and improving clarity and coherence for school staff.

Document history

2021 Feb 22 - updated contact details policy statement.

2020 Jun - updated contact details and minor wording.

2014 - updated terminology to reflect new model of support to schools in 2014. Also updated contact details, position titles and legislation.

Superseded documents

School Canteens – Guidelines for School Communities, 99/065 (S.045) The School Health Canteen Policy, Schools Directorate, Revised 1985; Nutrition in Schools 2011 (updated 2014); Fresh Tastes @ School NSW Healthy School Canteen Strategy: Canteen Menu Planning Guide; Healthy School Canteens Self Assessment Tool and Action Planner; Developing a Healthy School Canteen; School Canteens website

  1. Policy statement
    1. Healthy eating and good nutrition should be promoted as part of the school environment and in all school activities and programs that involve food and drinks.
    2. Teaching nutrition education is part of the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) key learning area, which is mandatory for all students from Kindergarten to Year 10. Teaching and learning and class activities in other key learning areas should reinforce healthy eating and good nutrition wherever possible.
    3. School canteens are required to implement the Healthy School Canteens Strategy, which includes food and drink criteria. Successful implementation is assessed by a 3-yearly canteen Menu Check that schools will undertake.
    4. As outlined in the Healthy School Canteens Strategy, sugar sweetened drinks are not to be sold to students.
    5. Where school activities involve providing food and drink to the wider school community, consideration should be given to promoting healthy eating.
    6. School activities that involve providing food will address the requirements of the Anaphylaxis Procedures for Schools to minimise the risk of exposure to allergens.
    7. Schools with preschools are required to follow the protocols of the Education and Care Services National Regulations (Regulations 77-80) and the guidance outlined in Quality Area 2 – Standard 2.1 of the National Quality Standard to ensure healthy eating practices are promoted. They are also required to develop a local nutrition, food and beverages, and dietary requirements procedure to support this policy. Further information is in the Leading and operating department preschool guidelines.
    8. All canteen operators are required to notify the local council of their food activity details. All canteens will provide a safe and hygienic food service and comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, Food Act 2003 (NSW) and Food Regulation 2010 (NSW).
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. All NSW Government schools and preschools, parents/caregivers, and the wider school community.
  3. Context
    1. The health and wellbeing of students is relevant to their learning and is important to schools. The present and future health of students can be enhanced by quality learning and positive experiences at school.
    2. This policy contributes to NSW Department of Education's efforts to reduce overweight and obesity rates of children by 5% over 10 years to 2025.
    3. The Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) (PDF 1.86 MB) give advice on eating for health and wellbeing.
    4. Legislation:
      1. Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
      2. Food Act 2003 (NSW) and Food Regulation 2010 (NSW)
      3. Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011
    5. Read this policy in conjunction with:
      1. Student Health in NSW Public Schools: A summary and consolidation of policy
      2. Commercial Arrangements, Sponsorship and Donations policy and guidelines
      3. Student Welfare policy
      4. The Wellbeing Framework for Schools
      5. Australian guide to healthy eating.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. Principals:
      1. oversee the implementation of school practices that are consistent with this policy and are responsive to local needs, including cultural diversity
      2. include their canteen operations in the school planning process
      3. enable canteen managers and canteen staff (including volunteers) to attend training opportunities relevant to implementing the NSW Healthy School Canteens Strategy and ensure a successful menu check is undertaken and maintained.
    2. Directors, Educational Leadership:.
      1. monitor the local implementation of this policy.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Executive Director, Inclusion and Wellbeing monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
  6. Contact
    Leader, Student Health and Safety
    Student.Health@det.nsw.edu.au
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