Publication - Advice and guidance

Beyond the School Gate - Improving Food Choices in the School Community

Published: 3 Jun 2014
Part of:
Health and social care

Beyond the School Gate guidance was launched on 1st May 2014. It provides guidance for local authorities, schools, retailers, caterers and other partners on what they can do to influence the food environment around schools and support children and young people to make healthier choices.

70 page PDF

996.5 kB

70 page PDF

996.5 kB

Beyond the School Gate - Improving Food Choices in the School Community
Annex A: The Policy Environment

70 page PDF

996.5 kB

Annex A: The Policy Environment

This section sets out the national policy drivers relating to food and health in Scotland and in particular those which are key drivers for improving the diet of children and young people.

Understanding and awareness of these key policies should assist Local Authorities and others in developing their own local policies and help them to build a robust and holistic case for action to improve the food environment around schools.

National policy documents relevant to this work are:

Hungry for Success

In 2003 the Scottish Government published Hungry for Success: A Whole School Approach to School Meals in Scotland. This report set out a number of recommendations designed to revolutionise school lunches and improve health and wellbeing at school in general.

The Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007

This Act was approved in the Scottish Parliament and built upon the work which took place through Hungry for Success. It makes health promotion a central purpose of schooling and sets out a number of duties that each education authority in Scotland must achieve. There are seven main duties and these include 'taking account of the principles of sustainable development when providing food and drink in schools' and 'complying with strict nutritional standards for all food and drink served in schools.

The Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008

This Regulation sets out the nutritional standards that all food and drink in schools must comply with. The duties under the Act and the standards in the Regulations are monitored by Education Scotland Health and Nutrition Inspectors as part of their annual programme of school inspections. The Regulations were introduced in primary schools in 2008 and secondary schools in 2009.

Equally Well: The Ministerial Taskforce on Health Inequalities

Equally Well was launched in June 2008 and produced in partnership with COSLA. A detailed action plan followed in December 2008. Equally Well highlighted that tackling health inequalities required action from national and local government and from other agencies, including the NHS, schools, employers and the Third Sector.

Recipe for Success: Scotland's National Food and Drink Policy

Published in 2009, the aim of Scotland's first national food and drink policy is to promote Scotland's sustainable economic growth by ensuring that the Scottish Government's focus in relation to food and drink, and in particular our work with Scotland's food and drink industry, addresses quality, health and wellbeing, and environmental sustainability, recognising the need for access and affordability at the same time.

Preventing Overweight and Obesity in Scotland

In 2010, the Scottish Government and COSLA launched this long-term obesity prevention strategy. The 'Route Map' recognises that we cannot expect people to be able to change their behaviour alone as the environment we live in today means that for most people weight gain becomes almost inevitable. The Route Map identified four key areas in which action is likely to have the greatest effect:

  • Reducing demand for and consumption of excessive amounts of high calorie foods and drinks;
  • Increasing opportunities for uptake of walking, cycling and other physical activity;
  • Establishing life-long healthy habits in children;
  • Increasing the responsibility of organisations for the health and wellbeing of their employees.

In 2011, the Scottish Government published the Obesity Route Map Action Plan which details the actions across Government that with our partners, will be taken forward to address the increasing prevalence of obesity in Scotland.

Curriculum for Excellence

Curriculum for Excellence, implemented in 2010, aims to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland develop the attributes, knowledge and skills they will need to flourish in life, learning and work.

There are eight curriculum areas and for each curriculum area there are a number of topics which frame the experiences and outcomes that all children and young people are entitled to. Along with Numeracy and Literacy, Health and Wellbeing makes up the three core components that are the 'responsibility of all'.

Revised Dietary Goals for Scotland (2013)

Replacing the dietary targets set in 1996, these set out new evidenced-based dietary goals for energy, fats, salt, sugar, fibre and key food groups, such as fruit, vegetables, red meat and oily fish. It was noted that current dietary intakes in Scotland, while showing a modest improvement, were still some way from meeting the 1996 dietary targets.

Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition: A Framework for Action

In 2011, the Scottish Government launched the Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition Framework which provides up to date information on the diet and nutrition of mothers and young children in Scotland, and research based recommendations for improvement. It sets out actions to be taken by the Scottish Government, NHS Boards, local authorities, community groups and others to help improve the nutrition of pregnant women, babies and young children. These actions include activities designed to improve the knowledge and skills of staff working to support families, improve communication of crucial messages on nutrition, and provide practical support for families to encourage good nutrition.

Better Eating, Better Learning: A New Context for School Food

Published in 2014, this document builds on the successes in school food and education since 2003. It aims to provoke fresh thinking around the opportunities and challenges brought about by a changing policy landscape. It promotes partnership working, sharing of ideas, and self-evaluation, around a number of areas including food and learning, school food and drink provision, the dining experience, and communications and engagement.

Supporting Healthy Choices: A (draft) Framework for Voluntary Action (to be published during 2014)

This framework sets out draft proposals for supporting healthy choices in Scotland. The draft proposals have a particular focus on:

  • children's health;
  • promotions;
  • helping consumers with better information;
  • reformulation and making our products and menus healthier.


Email: Christopher Russell