“Fuel for School has been created to meet a need. The need is hunger. Children arriving at school hungry can have a negative effect on their ability to learn. Providing children with access to food has resulted in positive outcomes for pupils and their families. Fuel for School is a positive intervention and should be embraced by schools and their communities” Nathan Atkinson – Headteacher Richmond Hill Primary School

Fuel for School is an exciting initiative created by The Real Junk Food Project in partnership with Richmond Hill Primary School.

The programme has three key objectives:

1. Remove hunger as a barrier to learning

2. Highlight the importance of nutrition, well-being and the associated benefits linked to learning

3. Highlight the vast amounts of wasted (yet perfectly edible) food across our local and wider communities.

This programme began as a result of a partnership between The Real Junk Food Project and Richmond Hill Primary School with a project that was designed to remove hunger as a barrier to learning. The early work ensured that all 600 pupils at the school received a breakfast each morning at no cost to the school or pupils. Children at Richmond Hill now start their day in school with toast and a drink. The food provided is wasted food that would otherwise have been destined for landfill.  This work has truly enriched the wellbeing of children, their families and the community the school serves.

The success of the work at Richmond Hill inspired a local awareness day where schools across Leeds were invited to take part in an event where food would be made available to provide a breakfast to any child in the city. Amazingly, over 10,000 children from Leeds, Bradford, Sunderland and Doncaster signed up! The legacy of this awareness day, which toolk place at the end of 2015, is the formal creation of Fuel for School.

Fuel for School currently provides 22 schools with a twice weekly delivery of food. This food is used by the schools in a variety of ways; market stalls for the school community, ingredients for cooking activities, rewards for children, supplement breakfast clubs and even chicken food for a school farm. Currently 6 tonnes of food per week are being saved from landfill as a result of this work.


In addition to food deliveries, the programme also provides schools with an education resource that includes lesson plans and activities designed to improve well-being (including mental health for children), cooking ideas, nutritional awareness (specific reference made to sugar), exercise plans and ideas on how to reduce food waste. The resource links with The Real Junk Food Project in highlighting the global issue of food waste. Schools also receive a visit from Fred the Fox, the official mascot of Fuel for School. Fred; F:eed, R:ecycle, E:ducate, D:ine.

At Richmond Hill Primary School we have used food as a medium to engage with our families, we have started to meet their needs in the most basic way. Our coffee mornings are extremely well attended and provide a lifeline for many families. Families are becoming better educated about food and nutrition and have built trust with the school – as a result of this outcomes for children are improving. These outcomes have been made possible by utilizing food that “the system” deemed useless and not fit for purpose!

“We have used some of the over-ripe bananas to make banana loaf with a group of vulnerable children.  Every item of food that has been delivered has been used in some way. It’s either been sold to parents on a pay as you feel basis, fed the chickens, fuelled breakfast club or staff have taken it home. The deliveries have been great, all on time and filled with a varied selection of food” Oulton Primary School

To find out more about Fuel for School visit www.fuelforschool.info


About Nathan Atkinson

Nathan Atkinson is the Headteacher at Richmond Hill Primary School in Leeds. The school is a 3 form entry school and serves a diverse community with high levels of deprivation.  As a Headteacher, Nathan has a proven track record of leading schools in challenging circumstances (Special Measures and Requires Improvement) to Good Ofsted grades. Nathan is passionate about community partnership and has engaged with this audience in a variety of innovative ways to improve outcomes for young people and their families.