Gateway Academy makes healthy meals easy with new system for pupils and parents

A new school meals system has been introduced at Blackpool Gateway Academy, to help children choose their meals independently and allow parents to help them make healthy choices.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 3:45 pm

The primary school, in Seymour Road, South Shore, introduced the new 'Cypad' system in conjunction with Blackpool Council which sees pupils make lunch choices via touch screen with their parents in advance.

Cypad is also expected to be rolled out in Westminster Primary Academy in North Shore in the next few weeks.

Using the school's ParentPay app, lunch choices can be made in advance, giving parents the opportunity to discuss their child's diet with them and see what they will be eating at school.

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Gateway Academy pupil Abbie French-Hallsworth with the new Cypad touch-screen system, which has been introduced to allow children to independently choose their meals in advance. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

The Cypad system also communicates with Gateway's kitchen staff, enabling them to make preparations in advance, saving them valuable time.

If a pupil has not used the app to select their meals, they are able to visualise their options on an interactive whiteboard in school, and can make choices with help from their teacher.

Sue Robinson, headteacher at Gateway Academy, said: "If a child is choosing their meals in school with their teacher, there's a little picture of the meal so they can visualise it, and teachers can read the options out to younger ones, or it provides a reading opportunity for them as well.

"The good thing about the system is, if a child has special dietary requirements, for example if they're vegetarian, the system won't show them options with meat in so they won't be able to choose it.

The new Cypad system introduced at Gateway Academy makes life much easier for school kitchen staff, who can see in advance which meals to prepare for pupils. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

"Once any special requirements or allergies are put into the system, it drags across, and it has the potential to be very successful.

"We're seeing a lot of parents helping their child to choose what to have in advance. So they can see what their child is going to be eating, and can perhaps help them to choose healthy, nutritious and more varied choices.

"Fundamentally, the whole process is designed to give parents the chance to see what their child is having every day, particularly for parents of younger children who may come home and not tell them what they have eaten."

John Topping, from Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) which runs the school, said: "We are very pleased to see that in two of our ten FCAT academies, namely Gateway Primary and Westminster Primary that Blackpool Council catering has implemented the Cypad Meal Selection software system.

Pupil Tilly Warner demonstrates how to use the interactive whiteboard to make school lunch choices. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

"This means that our children, during their morning form period can make informed choices from a range of high quality photos and food data on a large screen, at the start of the school day to select their preferred school dinner for that day.

"Over the last year, the importance of school meals has been highlighted. All our catering providers within FCAT know the importance of healthy and wholesome meals for our young people, ensuring they get the right nutritional balance; boosting their development, behaviour and ability to learn."

Blackpool Council was contacted for a comment.