Withington’s 16-strong Catering Team produce an amazing 800 lunches every day for pupils and staff. The School offers an outstanding catering provision and has become the first independent school in the North West of England to have achieved a national Food For Life award. The certification programme is run by the Soil Association – the UK’s leading food and farming charity and organic certification body – and recognises commitment to providing pupils and staff with healthy, nutritionally-balanced meals using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.

88% of all WGS meals conform to best-practice guidelines around fresh preparation and the use of seasonal ingredients. All meat used is farm assured to UK standards; fish is from sustainable sources and eggs are free range. Undesirable additives or preservatives are avoided and there are no genetically modified ingredients. Sugar is kept to a minimum and honey is used where possible in WGS recipes.

In response to pupil and parent feedback, additional menu choices have been made possible by the installation of a new salad servery which is packed each lunchtime with food items such as colourful salads, hummus and guacamole ready to be piled into freshly baked bread, pitta or wraps.

The new salad servery

Every day, delicious homemade soups and breads are on offer and there are four savoury courses, at least two of which are vegetarian. There is a delicious pudding to follow, or the option to have yoghurt, fruit, or both. It is our aim that each girl should be able to select a healthy diet based on her tastes and cultural needs.

In contrast with popular perceptions about school meals, lunches are often quoted by pupils – especially Juniors – as being one of Withington’s strengths. One Year 3 girl said, “I like Withington because of lunchtime, there are options and you can have seconds.” A Year 5 pupil commented, “I love the breakfast and lunch because it’s in filling portions and very yummy!” and another Year 5 girl added, “the food is delicious and it doesn’t matter what your faith is or what your allergies are.”

The girls report that not only are they are spending longer eating their lunches and that there is a more social ambience, but that they are trying a whole range of new foods as well. The reason given almost universally by the girls themselves that “it all looks and tastes amazing!”

Menus rotate on a two-week cycle; the menus for each day can be viewed or downloaded here.

There is a Speedy Bar for pupils to grab a quick, nutritious meal for when they are on the go with sports practices and extracurricular activities.

Sixth Formers have their own Bistro which offers a selection from the main menu, a comprehensive salad bar, a variety of filled breads, jacket potatoes, soup, pasta, fresh fruit, puddings and homemade bread and yoghurts.

In addition to the Food For Life award, the Withington Catering Department has once again been awarded a 5-star Hygiene rating in its latest inspection by Manchester City Council.

All food prepared at Withington Girls’ School is prepared in a kitchen where gluten and other allergens are present, and our menu descriptions do not include all ingredients. Those with food allergies should inform Catering staff before making food choices. Full allergen information is available upon request. (EU Reg. 1169/2011)

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