School canteen also a restaurant

Two-week waiting list for public to eat at school kitchen.


The school kitchen at Wittersham Church of England Primary, Kent, has opened as a public restaurant to stay afloat and save jobs. The scheme, called Back to School Dinners, was launched six weeks ago and sees the kitchen make its meals available to everyone. It’s so successful there’s now a two-week waiting list, reports The Mirror.


For just £13, diners can look forward to a roast, a drink and a traditional dessert, such as peaches and ice cream or gypsy tart dessert. Meals are freshly prepared with local ingredients, head teacher Judith Thornton has said.

The idea came from the dinner ladies Jan Pudan and Heather Manahan. The school kitchen used to serve two schools, but this changed, and Jan and Heather faced the prospect of redundancy, and the kitchen faced closure.

“When I heard I might be made redundant I was devastated, but I wasn’t going to give up so easily. But I never thought the idea would take off so well,” said dinner lady Jan, who is also a former pupil of the school.

The school put a flyer in the village magazine, and they received a swift response from residents keen for a school dinner. For many, it’s a walk down memory lane, as they used to attend the school decades ago. For some, it becomes a family occasion, as their children or grandchildren are currently at the school. They all seem to agree the food is tasty.

The pupils also enjoy it: “It’s really good talking to the old people. They tell me about what they used to do. And I tell them what I did on holiday,” said 5-year-old pupil Sara.


Do you have fond memories of school dinners, or does the thought of that old school menu make you gag? Let us know…


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