Our School Meals

At the Oratory, we use Cityserve, Birmingham’s School Meals Service to provide our school meals; meeting the National Food Standards criteria providing:

  • high-quality meat, poultry or oily fish
  • fruit and vegetables
  • bread, other cereals and potatoes.

There can’t be:

  • drinks with added sugar, crisps, chocolate or sweets in school meals and vending machines
  • more than 2 portions of deep-fried, battered or breaded food a week.

There is more information about these standards on the Children’s Food Trust website.

The NHS Choices web site Living Well has information for pupils and their families about food that’s good to eat; food hygiene and safety; and how what you eat has an impact on different life stages, from babies to grandparents.

Birmingham School Meals Service:


  • involves the pupils in the tasting and development of new dishes;
  • attend school council groups to discuss the catering service with the pupils;
  • train our dedicated catering teams to provide dishes cooked from fresh and raw ingredients wherever possible;
  • use recipes and menus that are nutritionally analysed by a qualified dietician;
  • include seasonal produce on our menus;
  • use locally sourced meat, fruit, vegetables and dairy products wherever possible;
  • use a selection of fish from sustainable sources;
  • has been awarded the Good Egg awarded for using free range eggs;
  • use Fairtrade products wherever possible; and
  • works to reduce our carbon footprint and purchase recyclable materials wherever possible.


Birmingham school menus are designed to offer choice, great value for money and the knowledge that each menu meets the legislative standards for school food.

The 4 weekly menu cycles offers a variety of dishes each day for your child to choose from. The menus include many favourites including roasts, curries, pasta, pizza, fruit smoothies and traditional puddings.

Your child may select salad from the salad cart instead of vegetables and fruit or yoghurt instead of the pudding choice. Drinking water is always available and fresh bread is free to accompany your child’s meal.

During the year there are planned theme days where the lunch is linked to curricular activity, celebrates a current event or just adds fun to the lunchtime.

The cost of a school meal per day is:

Nursery      £1.80              Reception to Y6    £2.10

Cheques or cash should be placed in a sealed envelope clearly marked with your child’s name and class and handed into the class teacher or at the School Office. We prefer two weeks’ notice to change lunch arrangements.

Some people like to choose a mix of school dinners and packed lunch for their child – that’s absolutely fine, as long as it’s the same pattern of school dinners and packed lunches every week. Just let office staff know which days you’d like to opt in for a school meal in the week, and which days you’d prefer to provide your child with a packed lunch. Our most popular day for school meals is ‘Pizza Friday!’

Free school meals

Free school meals are available to all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. They are also available to some older children according to family income. It’s important to register for entitlement to free school meals, even if your child has a packed lunch or is in a younger class – this is so we can receive additional funding (called the pupil premium) which we can use to help your child.

Children under the age of 19 are entitled to Free School Meals if their parents, carers or guardians receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income – related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Parents receiving Working Tax Credit for 4 weeks after their employment finishes are also entitled to free school meals during that period

In the first two categories above, parents / carers can obtain a Free School Meals application form from the school. We have a team who are able to provide support, advice and help in the application process in a sensitive, discrete and confidential manner. The team is happy to talk face to face, over the phone or by email.

Oratory Free School Meal Team

Each member of the team can be contacted by phone on 0121 454 0600 or email, as stated above.

When completed, the form should be given to the school. Parents, carers and guardians can ensure free meals are provided promptly by supplying evidence of entitlement to the school, e.g. a Benefits Agency letter or Income Support payment book. Photocopies of any such documentation may be taken by the school and retained on file.

Parents / carers who are asylum seekers must provide a letter, from either the Birmingham City Council Asylum Seekers Team or the National Asylum Support Service (Home Office) NASS, stating that they are receiving support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, in order to receive free school meals. Schools should keep photocopies of such letters. For audit purposes, the school will require the following information to be kept on file:

  • The name of the office providing support.
  • Date of the official letter verifying the parent status.
  • For Child Tax Credit, HM Revenue and Customs will provide proof of entitlement to each applicant. The form is called Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602). Applicants are told that it must be retained by them and presented to schools as proof of entitlement to free meals.

For those in receipt of the ‘Guaranteed’ element of Pension Credit it is suggested that parents produce their ‘Pension Credit M1000 Award Notice’ as proof of entitlement. The ‘How Pension Credit has been worked out for …’ section of this form clearly shows details of any Guaranteed Pension Credit in payment.

All claim forms and copies of proofs supporting a claim for Free School Meals are to be retained by the school.
Further information can be obtained from:

  • Theresa Anderson, Oratory School Secretary:0121 454 0600
  • Birmingham City Council Asylum Seekers Team: 0121 303 4003;
  • Birmingham City Council Housing. Lead Officer, Asylum Seeker & Refugee Team: 0121 464 2795

Packed lunches

Alternatively, children may bring a packed lunch which is eaten in the main hall during the winter and outside during the summer months.

Packed lunches should be in a secure named container. No sweets are allowed – instead, we encourage lots of fruit or vegetables. Water is available for children who choose a packed lunch. However, your child can bring their own drink in a non-breakable container – please no fizzy drinks.


Click on the link above which will take you to the ‘Healthier lunchboxes and picnics’ section of the NHS Change 4 Life website. It has some great ideas for you. Just choose a week from the list below the icon on the left hand side of this page, and in no time you’ll have delicious lunchbox ideas for all the family.

Take the lunchbox list with you when you shop – it will help you avoid reaching for tempting, less healthy foods, and it could save you time and money too!

We are promoting healthier alternatives to sweet snacks

Try these ideas and see if you can chuck the chocolate… or reduce it! Try some healthy ways with fruit – great for counting towards your 5 A DAY:

  • Chunks of melon, strawberries, grapes, or whatever you have to hand. Look out for fruit that’s in season, it’s likely to be cheaper.
  • Dried – how about just a few pieces of mango, banana, pineapple, cranberries or raisins? Don’t forget, a small handful is about the right amount of dried fruit for children under 8.
  • Low fat fruit yoghurt.
  • A handful of dry reduced sugar cereal with a few raisins or sultanas.

Healthier savoury snack ideas

Instead of crisps and pork scratchings which can all be high in salt and fat, try:

  • Baked crisps
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Pitta and lower fat dips like salsa or reduced fat hummus
  • Rice cakes with lower fat cream cheese and cucumber
  • Celery sticks filled with lower fat cream cheese
  • Homemade popcorn (without sugar or salt)
  • Unsalted ricecakes, corncakes or oatcakes

Fun for dipping

Snacking on veg also counts towards your 5 A DAY and ups your fibre intake too. So how about these:

  • Veg sticks – carrot, celery, baby sweetcorn, peppers and radishes with a reduced fat hummus dip
  • Sliced apple and a lower fat soft cheese to dip