The Ursuline Academy Ilford

A Catholic maintained secondary academy and an independent Preparatory School located in North East London had previously been catering in-house. The increasing complexities of running an in-house service to meet ever changing food legislation coupled with the need to purchase food ingredients more competitively meant that the School wished to seek a commercial caterer to take over the running of the catering service.

At the time of the decision to appoint a commercial caterer the school was undertaking extensive building works which included a total rebuild and refurbishment of the kitchen and dining areas. An OJEU compliant tender was managed by Educo with school specific and detailed service specifications identified. The tender of the catering contract was purposely designed to seek financial investment into the school from the appointed catering contractor to assist with the financial demands of the building works. Ordinarily Educo suggest a catering contract of between 3 and 5 years, but in this instance to secure the larger financial investment required, a 7 year contract was tendered. The Caterer agreed to the use of the Educo best practice catering agreement which secures the School all the relevant protections.

The time taken between the School making the decision to tender their catering service and the physical appointment of the Caterer took about 4 months, which is standard timing.  Not only was an innovative and successful caterer appointed but the school secured a substantial and meaningful investment to assist with the building project.

The service has been physically audited twice a year and is monitored financially on a monthly basis to assess progress in sales, margin and costs.

Today the service provided is in line with best practice and is being enjoyed by a growing number of pupils, whilst also providing a financial surplus for the school.

These are a few examples of where Educo has been able to assist schools improve their school meal service and contract manage the service to best practice. Educo work with schools in a variety of different situations – some are individual schools and some are school clusters who work together.

Educo believes the requirement for a bespoke catering service, tailored to the specific needs of the individual school aligned to commercial rigour and the ongoing monitoring that Educo undertake ensure that a school meal catering service can be developed to grow with a school’s developing catering needs. Such arrangements are financially viable and in many cases create both financial investment and an ongoing surplus for the school.