After a thorough process of research King’s Schools Taunton (KST) have decided to contract their catering operations to Independents by Sodexo, starting this summer.
KST which comprises King’s Hall School (the prep school) and King’s College (the senior school) had something of a mixed approach before the move. King’s Hall had already contracted its catering out for a number of years, while the college managed it in-house. The schools are run as a joint company and it made sense to put in place a single solution for both.
The King’s Hall contractor has provided an excellent catering provision for the school over its 18-year contract and the in-house operation at King’s College had worked well for many years. The standard of catering was generally considered very high, but governors and management felt in the end that the expertise which a catering company could bring, along with the benefits of a uniform approach across both schools, made a change desirable.
A shortlist of three contenders was drawn up and bursars and headteachers embarked on a tour of local schools to investigate the quality of the catering provided by each. The standards in all cases were extraordinarily high, as was the enthusiasm and dedication of the catering staff we met. In the end the decision to go with Sodexo was a narrow one. The size and reach of the company, and the career opportunities it could provide for our own catering staff, along with the excellent references and a first-rate showing in the final presentation tipped the balance in their favour.
Very importantly, the catering staff at both schools have embraced the move and are looking forward to working with the new management.
Tracy Cullen, Domestic Services Manager at King’s, commented, “We are excited about working with Sodexo from July and look forward to taking our catering operation to the next level.” The Headmaster, Richard Biggs, added, “I have seen what Sodexo has done in other schools and am delighted that we will soon be enjoying the same exciting and innovative approach to food here at King’s. This is good news all round.”
With over 750 pupils across both schools, and a majority boarding population in the college, the catering operation is sizeable. The £1.4m contract will provide not just the regular three meals a day for the whole school community but will also take on the catering for the many extra dinners, sports and other functions, hospitality and balls which take place in the schools each year. There is also a plan to open a new café in the college within the coming year.
King’s College is an independent co-educational boarding and day school with more than 460 pupils aged 13–18 years. Its sister school, King’s Hall School, is a prep and pre-prep with more than 300 boys and girls from the ages of two to 13. It offers full, weekly and flexi boarding for children from the age of eight. Both schools are members of the Woodard Corporation, the largest group of Church of England schools in England and Wales.
This is first time King’s College has outsourced its catering and the first time the two schools have worked together on their food provision. Sodexo will be tasked with providing a joined-up approach to catering across the schools, offering pupils and staff a wide range of dishes, with an emphasis on fresh, nutritious and seasonal food.