With the introduction of the 'Hungry for Success – a whole school approach to school meals in Scotland' policy in 2002/2003, we began the first step in our journey towards changing the food culture in Scotland's schools and encouraging our children and young people to make better food and drink choices. By doing so, we aim to help ensure our children avoid the diet related conditions that have become all too familiar in Scotland.
This policy, designed to transform school food and drink provision and move towards balanced and nutritious offerings, throughout the school day, set the scene for what is now an internationally admired model of school food and drink provision and food education.
Building on what had been achieved through Hungry for Success, the Scottish Parliament passed ' The Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition( (Scotland) Act 2007 ' (the schools health promotion and nutrition Act). This schools health promotion and nutrition Act makes health promotion a central purpose of schooling, requiring all schools to provide activities and an environment which promotes the physical, social, mental and emotional health and wellbeing of pupils in attendance at the school.
Importantly, the schools health promotion and nutrition Act also created powers for Ministers to place a duty on all local authority schools to implement ' The Nutritional Requirements for food and drink in schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008 ' (The school food and drink Regulations). These school food and drink Regulations detail the nutritional standards that all food and drink served in schools must meet.
The existing school food and drink Regulations are split into two parts:
- The first is a set of nutrient standards designed to ensure that a school lunch provides 30% of a pupils nutritional requirements for a day as detailed in COMA (Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy) Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom, 1991  . For example minimum amounts for nutrients such as iron & calcium and maximum amounts for nutrients such as fat and salt.
- The second is a set of food and drink standards which apply to all other parts of the day (breakfast clubs, after school clubs, tuckshops, vending machines) and includes limitations on savoury snacks, a ban on confectionery and restrictions on the types of drinks that could be served.
The duties under the schools health promotion and nutrition Act and the school food and drink Regulations are monitored by Education Scotland's Health and Nutrition Inspectors as part of school inspections.
Since our school food and drink Regulations were first introduced in primary schools in 2008 and secondary schools in 2009, the scientific and dietary advice on which they were based has changed. This includes the recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition ( SACN) on Energy  , Carbohydrates and Health  and Iron and Health  . which led to the Scottish Dietary Goals being updated and accepted by the Scottish Ministers in 2016.
In 2017, a short-life technical working group ( TWG) was convened to review the current school food and drink Regulations. The TWG put the health and wellbeing of children and young people at the heart of their considerations. Their approach was to bring the school food and drink Regulations in closer alignment with the Scottish Dietary Goals, using the most up‑to‑date scientific evidence base and knowledge of current school food practices.
The TWG have now presented their report and recommendations to the Deputy First Minister who is keen to ensure everyone who feels they have something to contribute to this work is provided with an opportunity to do so.
This consultation asks five questions designed to seek your views on four key themes that underpin the recommendations made by the TWG in their report. The TWG report will be made available on the Scottish Government website.
This consultation deals with the nutrient content of food and drink provided in schools. It will not seek comments about how food and drink is delivered in schools, for example, dining hall facilities or length of the school lunch break which is covered by the guidance document 'Better Eating, Better Learning – a new context for school food'. It will also not seek comment relating to food education such as cooking skills which is delivered through Curriculum for Excellence and cannot be addressed by making changes to the school food and drink Regulations.
The responses to this consultation will be used to consider what further changes need to be made to the recommendations before they are used to draft the new version of the Nutritional requirements for food and drink in schools (Scotland) Regulations which will then begin their parliamentary journey and be subsequently implemented in Scottish local authority and grant maintained schools.
The supporting guidance document called ' Healthy Eating in Schools - A guide to implementing the nutritional requirements for food and drink in schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008' will be updated in advance of the new school food and drink Regulations being implemented and the responses to this consultation may also be used where appropriate to inform the development of this guidance.
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