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The 'Big Eat In' Follow Up Study - final report

Date: November 2011
Category: Report
Author: Scottish Centre for Social Research for GCPH

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Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) commissioned the Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen) to conduct qualitative research with school staff and Secondary 1 (S1) and Secondary 2 (S2) pupils in relation to lunchtime stay-on-site policies. The research was conduced in four secondary schools in Glasgow: two had been involved in the original Big Eat In (BEI) pilot study and the other two had recently established their own stay-on-site policies. 

The main aim of the research was to explore facilitators and barriers to successful, sustainable lunchtime stay-on-site policies for junior secondary school pupils.  The specific objectives included:

  1. To explore the nutritional attitudes and behaviour of junior secondary pupils in secondary schools with existing and new stay-on-site policies
  2. To gauge staff views regarding the importance and manageability of stay-on-site policies, including barriers and facilitating factors to the operation and sustainability of such approaches in BEI and ‘new’ schools.

In-depth interviews were conducted with ten members of school staff in the four schools. Nine focus groups were conducted in total with S1 and S2 pupils in the four schools.



School lunchtime stay-on-site policies were perceived as being successful, with the benefits conferred by the initiatives outweighing any drawbacks. However, if these initiatives are to continue, thought should be given to important elements, such as lunchtime activities, as these were viewed very positively by pupils and staff. Also, new developments such as the mobile vending units and coffee bars should be promoted and assessed, as they have the potential to enhance greatly the value of stay-on-site policies.