Merton has 4 community secondary schools - Bishopsford, Raynes Park, Rutlish and Ricards Lodge. They are all locked into a PFI contract which means it is not the local authority that chooses the catering contractor. The school buildings are owned by New Schools who subcontract service management to Atkins who subcontract catering services at the moment to Chartwell.
After a lengthy process, the local authority has made arrangements to go out to tender to choose a new catering contractor. Merton Parents for Better Food in Schools is absolutely determined to seize this opportunity to make sure there are some dramatic improvements.
Below I have pasted the letter we have sent to the authority outlining our expectations of the new contract. At the heart of our vision is an expectation that every young person will be given the opportunity to eat a tasty, freshly cooked meal in pleasant surroundings.
Feedback re secondary schools catering contract for New Schools
Merton Parents for Better Food in Schools is a parent organisation that set up in 2005 in order to improve the quality of school meals in Merton. Since then we have worked closely with the local authority to help make improvements in the primary schools. We are keen to see similar improvements in the secondary schools and so welcome this opportunity to take part in the market testing arrangements.
Firstly, we would like you to include our aims and objectives for secondary school meals with the contract specifications ( see http://www.mertonparents.co.uk and click on secondary tab) These aims were drawn up with a wide range of stakeholders and were agreed by the authority. We think it would be very helpful for prospective contractors to see this. It is important to note that we expect the contract to ensure that secondary school students enjoy the same high standards as primary school students
Secondly, we would like to ensure that with the support of Merton, a member of Merton Parents is part of the group that selects the next caterer
Thirdly we would like to see the criteria for choosing the new caterers and the weighting.
Finally, I would like to say we are very excited by the opportunity that the market testing gives us to improve secondary school food and we look forward to working with you. Please let me know if there is anything else we can do.
Chair of Merton Parents for Better Food in Schools
Have I missed anything out? As soon as I get more details about the new contract and the timetable of events I will post it here