West Dunbartonshire Council is committed to ensuring that children who need a special diet can enjoy a tasty lunch every day in school.

It is essential that parents/carers inform the school as soon as they are aware a special diet is required.

We can cater for pupils who have specific dietary requirements including:

  • Medically prescribed e.g. due to coeliac disease, food allergy or food intolerance
  • Additional support needs e.g. those with chewing and swallowing difficulties
  • Religious, cultural or ethical reasons e.g. individuals from different ethnic origins

Our approach

In providing a special diet, different approaches are taken, depending on the reason for the diet requested.

In respect of a specific diet due to additional support needs or ethical/religious/cultural reasons, the parent/carer should notify the Head Teacher who will liaise with catering staff.

For medically prescribed diets, guidance is available direct from the school and incorporates a request form which should be completed for all pupils who need either a medically prescribed diet or have an allergy or intolerance.

Pupils being provided with a specific diet will have an individual diet action plan in place which will be held by education and catering staff.

Food allergies

Living with allergies comes with its own set of rules so when it comes to school meals, as education caterers, we want to make this as easy as possible for you as a family.

Our staff are highly trained in food safety and regularly update their skills. We never underestimate the dangers of food allergies and intolerances and we know how important this is for you as parents/carers. Trusting someone else to feed your child is a huge responsibility - and that's why we work hard to get it right.

All menus have been analysed for food allergens and in addition to the standard recipes on our website, we have a range of adapted versions of the meal choices using alternative products (including gluten free. dairy free, wheat free and egg free) to support children who require special diets.

Our process

To help us support your child with a meal service which meets their individual needs, this process below is followed:

  • Parents/carers inform your child's school as soon as you are aware that your child has an allergy, intolerance or requires a medically prescribed diet.
  • The school will contact the catering team on site to let them know about your child's needs.
  • If the allergy is severe, an individual Risk Assessment will be prepared.
  • Once all information has been received, a meeting will be arranged between you (the parent/carer) and the Catering Manager to discuss your child's dietary needs.
  • Your child’s school catering team will be fully informed and trained to ensure that all staff understand your child's needs. Please note that it is not always possible to offer a menu choice for all diets.
  • Meals will be offered when all information has been received including from medical professionals, and any further training required delivered to our catering staff.
  • A dedicated alternative recipe book is in place in all schools for special diets and in providing substitutes we look to mirror standard menu choices as much as possible
  • To assist us, and with your permission, we will keep a photo of your child discreetly behind the serving counter within the school kitchen so that staff can recognise your child in the lunch queue.

Peanuts, nuts or peanut-based products

  • We do not knowingly use peanuts, nuts or peanut-based products in our school meals.