A Totnes primary has scooped a prestigious national award for its ‘inspiring’ school dinners.

St John’s beat off stiff competition from across the UK to win the Food for Life Peter Melchett Award.

Run by the Soil Association, the award celebrates schools that demonstrate excellence a whole-school approach to food from growing it to healthy eating and local community partnerships.

Judges praised St John’s for being an “outstanding winner” that is “transforming food culture” in both the classroom and the wider community.

In a statement, the judges said: “All schools that entered this year were amazing, but Totnes St John’s were another level up and their transformation is truly inspiring.”

James Cashmore, the Soil Association’s managing director, said: “Totnes St John’s took the whole school approach to food further than we have ever seen before.

“Their broad and holistic concept of food encompassed the trust they’re part of, their school kitchen, children, families, farmers and suppliers, and local community.

“This school used food to bring people together and break down barriers to change not only the school but the community it served.”

As well as opening its green space to the community, the school encouraged pupils to get involved in cooking activities using food they had grown.

As part of the children’s learning journey about food, they prepared meals to share at Totnes Market, spreading home in the community during the Covid pandemic.

The carved wooden trophy
The carved wooden trophy (Contributed)

Headteacher William Jaworski, said: “We are extremely proud to have won the Peter Melchett Award.

“This whole school transformation highlights how strong our collaborative partnerships are within the school and the wider trust.

“The drive and passion of our staff to ensure children achieve their very best is quite remarkable at Totnes St John’s.”

Sam Ward, the school’s community and catering lead, added: “To be up against such strong competitors and win, made this achievement even more special.

“This is the start of our journey and we will continue on it to excellence.”

The award is named after Sir Peter Melchett, who was one of the founders of Food for Life and played a key role in transforming the food young people eat in schools and on the high street in the UK.

St John’s won a thousand pounds and a wooden trophy carved from a tree near Sir Melchett’s farm in Norfolk.