Teachers in two Croydon schools have received a special recognition award from the Mayor of London and Sustain, the good food charity, for teaching pupils and the wider community about the benefits of eating healthy food to avoid obesity and prevent ill-health.
Helen Carvall and Tracey Langridge co-headteachers at Rockmount Primary School and Cindy Stott, life skills teacher at Bensham Manor School were presented with the accolade in the Women in Food category at the Urban Food Awards on Wednesday 20 March.
For the first time, to mark International Women’s Day, the awards profiled and celebrated women doing great things for food across the capital. This follows on from the success of the Mayor’s ‘Behind Every Great City’ campaign in pushing for greater gender equality.
Pupils at Rockmount School have benefitted from being Croydon’s first Food Flagship school, funded by the Mayor of London and Croydon Council. They are supported to grow their own food, learn how to cook healthy meals and to understand the importance of a balanced, nutritious diet.
The school has its own Edible Playground built with Trees For Cities charity, which is an area dedicated for the children to cultivate fresh fruit and vegetables that they can consume.
Tracey and Helen have improved their school’s food menus and transformed lunchtimes by making it a calmer, healthier and more social experience. As a result, the infants’ school meals uptake increased from 68% to 91%. In key stage two, this went up from 50% to 72%.
They also work with parents, other local schools and in the community to deliver workshops and share their learning. This includes some targeted support, such as the Somali mums packed lunch workshop.
Cindy Stott, teacher at Bensham Manor School leads horticulture education and life skills lessons. This is a special school for pupils on the autistic spectrum and they have been a Food Flagship school for two years.
Cindy engages the children in animal care and food growing, encouraging some former-pupils to return for further learning, work experience and paid employment. This has included them maintaining two community allotments, which the children designed and built.
Bensham Manor will soon open a community kitchen, where the pupils will cook food for the school community, local families and elderly residents. They also host events in other Croydon schools and their award recognises the time and advice they offer to staff in those schools.
Councillor Jane Avis, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for families, health and social care: “We are extremely proud of the exceptional work being done by Rockmount and Bensham Manor Schools. Eating healthy food as well as physical activity are vital for improving the educational attainment of pupils. Well done to our teachers for their hard work and for sharing their learning in the community.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and learning: “Tracey, Helen and Cindy have gone the extra mile to ensure that children in Croydon are happy and healthy to get the best from their learning. They also have dedicated teams supporting them to make, and maintain these incredible changes to their curriculum. We are really pleased with the exceptional work that is taking place in Rockmount, Bensham Manor and many other Croydon schools.
Helen Carvall and Tracey Langridge co-headteachers at Rockmount Primary School: “We are delighted that pupils, staff and parents and carers at Rockmount Primary School have been recognised for their commitment to healthy lifestyle choices. The exciting wider curriculum has enriched pupil experiences and enabled them to value their own health and wellbeing as part of lifelong learning.”
Cindy Stott, teacher at Bensham Manor School: “Everything I do in school is about inspiring the pupils and supporting them to learn whilst having fun. Enabling them to be in an outdoor learning environment, where anything is possible, is very rewarding.”
Claire Pritchard, Chair of the London Food Board: “I’m delighted to see the Mayor’s Urban Food Awards recognise and celebrate some of the most inspirational women working to improve food in London. Following the success of the Mayor’s ‘Behind Every Great City’ campaign, the ‘Women in Food’ category profiles a number of women doing great things for food – whether it be in food education, community food, good food enterprise or campaigning.”
Sarah Davenport, London Food Link: “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate unsung heroines like Helen, Tracey and Cindy, who are working to bring good food to London’s table. From restaurateurs to urban growers to transforming food education, the diversity of work that women are doing for good food in London is extraordinary.”