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Catering & Free School Meals
Our school meals service is provided at La Retraite by our own in-house catering team. The whole catering operation is managed by our Catering Manager, Mr Mustapha Jaafar, who is passionate about good food and ensuring all our students eat healthy, balanced meals using quality ingredients. He has a highly experienced and dedicated team of staff working alongside him.
We offer the following food service during the school day:
- FREE Breakfast service from 7.45 am to 8.30 am - We provide free cereal available for ALL students.
- Mid-morning snack from 10.40 am to 11.00 am
- Lunch from 11.50 am to 12.20 pm (Year 7 & Year 12) and from 12.35 pm to 1.05 pm for (Years 8, 9, 10, 11 & 13) - The lunch menu rotates on a two-weekly basis - please click here to see the menus.
The cost of a 'meal deal' at lunchtime is £2.50 per day and entitles students to a main course with vegetables, and a dessert, for example. Please click here for a price list of 'non meal deal' individual food items.
The Importance of Having Breakfast
It is very important that your child understands the benefits of eating breakfast as it has been proven through extensive research that a child's capacity to learn improves if they have eaten breakfast before they start the school day. If you are aware that your child does leave home in the morning without eating breakfast, please encourage them to have a free breakfast at school AND discourage them from buying food on their way into school from a corner shop or supermarket, as we find some students will buy biscuits, cakes, crisps and sweets for their breakfast and these items will be confiscated if they are seen in school.
How to Purchase Food
Please note that we use a cashless catering system (oyster card recognition) whereby students make payments for their food at till stations in the main Dining Hall and in the 6th Form Dining Hall. This cashless system also holds individual cash balances, records cash spent, and cash received. You can also see what food items your child bought, if you so wish, when you top up their accounts.
Parents/Guardians pay for their child's meal using an online payment method called ScoPay (which is also used for the payment of trips etc.) and which has a link at the bottom of the homepage of this website. Alternatively, the online payment system can be accessed using this link: www.scopay.com.
Your child should be issued with a ScoPay activation letter when they start at the school. However,if they do not receive one, then please contact the Finance Staff at email@example.com for an activation letter, or your child can collect the letter directly from the Finance Office. For some guidance on using ScoPay, please read this document click here which takes you through the simple steps to open a ScoPay account for your child and to top up their account with funds.
FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH AS A METHOD OF PAYMENT.
Students who are entitled to free school meals will also be issued with a ScoPay activation letter (so that parents can add funds for payment for mid-morning snacks which the free school meal entitlement does not cover). At lunchtime, students entitled to free school meals will obtain food using the same cashless system so that their meal status remains completely anonymous to other students.
We welcome students with packed lunches into the dining halls too, though they can also make use of the picnic tables in various locations throughout the site if they prefer. We appreciate your support in our campaign for a healthier school. For more information and ideas on how to keep your packed lunch interesting whilst still being healthy, please click here.
ALWAYS ENSURE WE KNOW IF YOUR CHILD HAS OR DEVELOPS ANY FOOD ALLERGIES. WE CAN THEN ENSURE CATERING STAFF ARE AWARE OF THIS AT THE TILL POINTS WHEN YOUR CHILD PURCHASES FOOD.
The school catering team have made the appropriate changes to the catering provision from 1st October 2021 to ensure the requirements of Natasha's Law are in place. Please click here for more information on Natasha's Law.
Free School Meals
There are a good number of students who may be eligible for Free School Meals, but have not claimed them.
This is important, whether or not a student has school meals. If a student is eligible for Free School Meals, she may also be eligible for financial support with other school activities, such as clubs, trips, and music tuition.
Student who are entitled to free school meals will also be issued with a ScoPay (online) account so that parents can add funds for breakfast or mid-morning snacks which the free school meal entitlement does not cover. At lunchtime, students entitled to free school meals obtain all food using the same cashless system so that their meal status remains anonymous to other students.
Children whose parents/carers receive any of the following are entitled to Free School Meals:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
From 1 April 2018, the Department for Education have made changes to the Universal Credit Thresholds, any student eligible for Free School Meals before this date will be protected until 31 March 2022.
The school receives funding to support students whose parents are eligible for Free School Meals. This is called the 'Pupil Premium', and the way in which this money is used is published on the school website, which can be viewed here.
If you believe you may be eligible to claim Free School Meals, please download the application form, available here, and return it, with the relevant paperwork, once completed, to Reception.