Welcome to our School Meals Service

Who are we?

For the past 33 years, the meals service has been run by a group of volunteer parents and village residents. Together we employ four part-time staff consisting of two cooks and two kitchen assistants to run the kitchens and we work behind the scenes to keep the business running smoothly along with organising much needed fundraising to maintain our kitchen equipment.

How can I help?

We always welcome new members to help us run this worthwhile service for our children and community!

Together a group of parents and villagers provide our children with lovely nutritious meals every day! We also provide the children at Yetminster and Bradford Abbas School with school meals and as part of our community services run a twice monthly Lunch Club at Thornford Village Hall – and deliver out-meals every Wednesday to our and other local villages.

Everyone has a role to play – it could be that you fancy helping out at the Lunch Club – or maybe you could deliver out-meals as part of our driver delivery rota system? Maybe finances are more your thing? Or perhaps you can help us with fundraising? There are many roles to running school meals for our children and everyone involved is so very valuable to us! You don’t need to join as a full committee member – you can just help out on a total volunteer basis. Come and join us – in whatever capacity you fancy and help us to ensure our children are provided every day with a nutritious lunch.

Have you got any questions you would like to be answered before getting involved?  For more information, please contact us on 01935 872 706 We look forward to you joining the team!

About our Food

Where are the meals cooked?

All meals are cooked in the school kitchen at Thornford School.  In 1980, when government funding for school dinners was withdrawn from primary schools in Dorset , kitchens across the county were turned into classrooms. In Thornford however, a group of parents, teachers and school governors decided to keep our kitchen open. So, unlike nearly all other primary schools in Dorset, which have to use outside caterers, we are able to provide hot meals, freshly cooked every day at the school.

What type of food is served?

Our menus are seasonal and have three main meal choices including a vegetarian option and a jacket potato option. We offer a daily dessert or alternatives of yoghurt or fresh fruit. In addition to this fresh water, salads and bread are available to every child each day. Nearly all our food is home-made in the school kitchen.  We aim to source our food locally where possible.


Thornford school meals complies with The Food Standards Agency regarding allergens and food intolerence polices.We are a NUT FREE site and cater for special dietry requirements when necessary. Where possible we structure our menus around these guidelines regarding food allergies.

How can I be confident that the food is healthy?

To ensure that meals are balanced and nutritious, we have to comply with government standards for food in primary schools. Our menus are devised by the Health Education Trust and Jeanette Orrey. Jeanette was the inspiration behind the Jamie Oliver, School Dinners Campaign. She has many years’ experience in primary school catering; she knows what is popular with children and has two books published on the subject: ‘The Dinner Lady’ and ‘Second Helpings’.

The menus are designed to be nutritionally balanced across a 3 week cycle. Each recipe is devised to appeal to children, be tasty as well as encouraging them to broaden their tastes.

Our Community Services

The Thornford Village Hall Lunch Club runs twice a month on a Thursday. Come and join us for good company with a hot dinner, dessert and coffee. Call Felicity on 01935 872 503 for more information and to book.

The Outmeals Service delivers a hot roast dinner and dessert to the homes of local villagers every Wednesday. Call Lynn on 01935 872 263 for more information.

Do we cater for local events?

Yes we do! more information, please contact us on 01935 872 706

Our Schools Service

How much do the meals cost? 

The cost of a child’s meal is £2.30.

When do I pay?

We ask you to pay a month in advance for your child’s meals. Dates for payment are shown on the order form.

What if I don’t want my child to have school lunches?

We encourage you to order school meals for your child, but you do have the option of providing them with a packed lunch instead. It is also possible to order school meals for some days, and bring packed lunches on other days. However, we have found from experience with our own children that it is often easier for parents and children if there is a commitment to school lunches every day.

School Trips

All school trips are listed on the school website – so please check before you order a lunch. We do not refund for school trip days, however, you can collect your childs lunch from the kitchen for that day – or if the kitchen has enough notice we will provide your child with a packed lunch for the trip.

Sickness – What happens if my child is sick and I have paid for their dinner?

If your child is off sick from school for a week and you have informed the kitchen of your childs sickness absence, we will credit your online account of the meals they have missed.  This can be organised on request. Alternatively you are welcome to collect your childs lunch on thier sickness day from the kitchen. Please note: School dinners should not be reheated.

Can I apply for free school meals?

Yes! You can apply by telephone – call Dorset Direct on 01305 221000 or online at https//www.dorsetforyou.com/free-school-meals

You will need to tell them your:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance Number (or your registered asylum seeker number)
  • Child’s details – name, date of birth, and school for which you want free school meals

Free School Meals

To get free school meals you must be in receipt of one of the following qualifying benefits:

  • Income Support (IS) or
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual taxable income (as assessed by The Inland Revenue) which from 6 April 2011 does not exceed £16,190
  • Income-Based Job Seekers’ Allowance (IB JSA) or
  • Employment Support Allowance (Income Related) (ASA(IRA)) or
  • Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit

From 1 May 2009 where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after their employment ceases, or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week, their children are entitled to free school lunches.


Click here to see if you qualify for free school meals »