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Findings Series 33 - Are lunch-time stay on site policies sustainable?

Date: February 2012
Category: Briefing Paper
Author: Fiona Crawford

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During the 2009/2010 academic year, Glasgow City Council (GCC) Education Services, in collaboration with other stakeholders, implemented a pilot initiative (Glasgow’s Big Eat In) in eight secondary schools in Glasgow. The aim of Glasgow’s Big Eat In (BEI) was to encourage junior secondary (S1) pupils to stay within the school grounds at lunchtime to eat a healthy lunch and participate in a lunchtime activity. 

An accompanying evaluation was conducted by GCPH and the Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen) to assess the impact of the pilot on secondary pupils’ attitudes and behaviour regarding their lunchtime experience, school meals, and healthy eating and elicit views of parents/carers and school staff regarding the pilot.  The evaluation concluded that the pilot had been successful in encouraging S1 pupils to stay within school at lunchtime and school meal uptake rates among S1 pupils remained higher than the previous year.  S1 pupils were positive about their experience as were the majority of other respondents (staff and parents/carers) and were in favour of continuation of lunchtime stay-on-site policies for S1 pupils.

At the beginning of the 2010/11 academic session, the eight pilot schools continued with S1 stay-on-site lunchtime policies and a number of other Glasgow secondary schools introduced their own stay-on-site policies.  Additional research was commissioned by GCPH and conducted by ScotCen to explore factors involved in successful, sustainable lunchtime stay-on-site policies.


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

Objectives were:

  1. To investigate the practical implementation of stay-on-site policies and programmes underway in Glasgow secondary schools.
  2. To explore views of junior secondary pupils regarding existing and new stay-on-site policies and explore nutritional attitudes and behaviour.
  3. To explore staff views regarding barriers and facilitators to stay-on-site policies.
  4. To gauge staff and pupil views regarding the future of stay-on-site policies.