Healthy Eating

Cashel Community School: Healthy Eating Policy

Policy Statement

Young people need to be aware of the importance of good nutrition in order to optimise their growth, health and developmental potential through their teenage years and beyond.

This Healthy Eating Policy operates in the context of the school’s commitment to quality education and supporting each student to develop the skills to make informed choices and decisions throughout their life.

This Healthy Eating Policy has been developed in consultation with the Parents Association, staff and Student Council. This policy will be reviewed and updated as required.

The policy aims to support all members of the school community in improving and maintaining optimal health.

This policy is to be implemented during the 2014/2015 school year.

School Ethos

By working to promote the health of students, we are contributing towards the provision of a healthy learning environment.  The various issues of health will form part of an expansive curriculum which caters for the diverse needs of the school community.


Research has shown that the poor eating habits of many adolescents can lessen their concentration levels and have a negative impact on classroom behaviour.  Ill-informed food choices are also associated with increasing levels of childhood obesity and lifelong health and dental problems. The school, in partnership with the home, can play an important role in developing healthy eating habits as part of its duty of care to its students.

Recent Statistics Nationally

A study carried out by the University of Washington in the US (2014) found that 26.5% of Irish girls and 16% of Irish boys under the age of 20 are classed as overweight or obese. The European average is 24.2%

Since 1990, the prevalence of weight problems and obesity among teenage boys has more than tripled, from 6pc to 19pc, while it has risen from a higher base of 15pc to 17pc among girls. The rate of obesity has increased from 1pc to 8pc among men, and from 3pc to 6pc among girls.

Obesity is the precursor to type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease and is also a major contributor to negative self-image and associated psychosocial issues. These concerning statistics suggest that obesity accounts for 5% of heart attacks and stroke, 10% of osteoarthritis, 20% of hypertension, 30% of all cancers and 80% of type 2 diabetes.

School Based Surveys (2012)

Parents, students and staff were surveyed in May 2012 on various aspects of the food available in Cashel Community School. The findings included:

100% of parents and 53% of teachers agree that there needs to be a healthy eating policy

25% of parents admitted to not being aware of their child’s eating habits in school

Items parents would not like available for their children included:

Sweets 22%, Crisps 36%, Fizzy Drinks 28%. Also mentioned were chocolate, chips/wedges, greasy foods and energy drinks.

41% of students felt there was not enough space available for them to eat their lunch.

58% of students surveyed were not buying healthy food in school and 35% of students believed they were not encouraged to eat healthy food in school.


Based on these findings:

  • Fizzy drinks including sports drinks were removed from the school shop, canteen, vending machine and students were not allowed bring them to school. (Sept 2012)
  • Wedges, curly fries, chicken goujons and sausage rolls were removed from the menu. (Nov 2013)

Healthy Eating Committee

Tracy Gibson

Marie Burke

Emily Kirwan

Mary Coman

Germaine Byrne

Anne Carey

Tracy Flanagan

Claire Whelan

Sandra Walsh


This Healthy Eating Policy aims to achieve the following:

  1. To promote the importance of healthy eating throughout the entire community of Cashel Community School.
  2. To increase awareness of the impact that food has on general health amongst the students, staff and parents of the school community.
  3. To promote an active school community and create awareness of the benefits of regular exercise and its effect on both our mental and physical health.
  4. To foster positive attitudes towards healthy food choices with a view to setting the foundations for lifelong healthy food choices and practices.
  5. To encourage all members of the school community to avail of the healthier options available to them.
  6. To endeavour to make Cashel Community School a nut free zone.

Objectives –Short Term

  1. To frequently remind students and staff of the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise through the digital displays on the corridor and in the staff room, poster displays on the corridors and through Home Economics, Physical Education and SPHE classes.
  2. To plan and implement a Healthy Eating Week in order to promote healthy eating and regular exercise.
  3. To regularly assess the quality of food in the school canteen and in the school shop and to try to promote healthy food options within the school community.
  4. To inform parents and students that Cashel Community School will endeavour to be a nut free zone from January 2015.
  5. To assess the range of snack foods and drinks on sale in the vending machines and to increase the range of healthy options available.

Objectives – Long Term

  1. To provide more variety and choice of healthy food options available in the school canteen, school shop and in the vending machines.
  2. To maintain the short-term objectives as stated above.


The Healthy Eating Policy aims to achieve the following:


Action Plan:

This plan outlines the actions that will be taken to support Healthy Eating in Cashel Community School and drawn up in consultation with Senior Management, Parents Council, Student Council, Board of Management and Staff.


Action: To provide awareness of and information on Healthy Eating

How: Poster displays and information leaflets in classrooms and on noticeboards throughout the school building, presentations, competitions for designing a poster/information leaflet

Who: This can be promoted through cross-curricular activity and reference in Home Economics Classes, SPHE Classes, Language Classes {Gaeilge, German, French}, Science Classes, PE Classes, Art Classes

Timeframe: Poster Displays and leaflets to be drawn up as the subject teacher meets the topic of food and Healthy Eating and/or during Health Week


Action:  To highlight the importance of healthy eating through the execution of a ‘Health Week’.

How: By implementing and promoting a ‘Health Week’, we aim to highlight specific health issues to the whole school body. Emphasis will be placed upon current health issues such as Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Dental Decay and Coronary Heart Disease. This health week will incorporate seminars, outside guest speakers (dietician, fitness trainer), cookery demonstration, health challenges, cookery competitions which will highlight all of the above.

Who: The Healthy Eating Policy Committee.

Timeframe: Health Week that will occur during Term 2 of the school year.


Action: Investigation of the food and drink choices available within the school tuck shop, vending machine and canteen.

How: Through investigating the sale of various types of snack foods available to the student body, we aim to introduce healthier food and drink choices for consumption over a phased basis.

Who: The Healthy Eating Policy Committee.

Timeframe: Evaluation of the foods and drinks on sale will regularly be done and will be updated as necessary.


Action: To endeavour to create a safe environment for all students in Cashel Community School including those with a nut allergy.

How: By creating awareness among staff, students and parents of nut allergies and their effects through a Powerpoint presentation.  A list of all the food products sold in the school has been made available and all products containing traces of nuts will be removed.  A letter will be posted to all parents asking them to exclude any products containing nuts from school lunches.

Who: The Healthy Eating Policy Committee.  Teachers of SPHE have been involved in the presentation to classes and the letter will be posted by the Principal.

Timeframe: We endeavour to have CCS a ‘nut free environment’ by January 2015.


Action: To highlight the importance of food hygiene amongst all food handlers in the school community.

How: By creating awareness in all Home Economics classes through Powerpoint presentations and through visual displays throughout the school. To ensure that strict standards of hygiene are upheld by all food handlers within the school environment.

Who: The Healthy Eating Policy Committee and teachers of Home Economics.

Timeframe: Poster displays will begin early 2015.