Oxford school serves up vegetarian-only meals

image source, The Swan School
image caption, Head teacher Kay Wood said she could "personally guarantee" the meals were tasty and nutritious

A head teacher of a new secondary school has defended a decision to serve only vegetarian meals to pupils.

Kay Wood said taking meat off the menu at The Swan School in Oxford allowed the school to serve "much better quality" lunches at affordable prices.

The head teacher added the move had "environmental benefits" and allowed staff and children to "eat together and enjoy a meal at the same time".

The Swan School opened to its first cohort of children on Monday.

The school in Marston will eventually have 1,260 students, but has started with about 120 Year 7 pupils.

Ms Wood, who is not a vegetarian, said the decision to serve meat-free meals was "absolutely not an attempt to impose my beliefs or diet on other people".

image source, The Swan School
image caption, Students are permitted to sate their inner carnivore by buying meaty treats during break times

She said the decision helped the school to cater for students and staff of different faiths and with varying dietary requirements.

"We are not trying to make all of our children vegetarian," she said.

Packed lunches are also banned, but Ms Wood said students could buy meat-based food at break times.

She said parents were notified of the meat-free regime before the school opened and added staff had been "really impressed with how the students have embraced the concept".

The free school, which is being set up to address a shortage of secondary school places in the city, is run by the Oxford-based River Learning Trust.

The school occupies a temporary base next to The Cherwell School in Summertown but will move to its permanent home at the Harrow Centre in September 2020.

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