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ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy

  1. What is this policy about?
    1. This policy promotes a consistent, whole school approach to the provision and sale of healthy food and drinks in ACT public schools.
  2. Policy Statement
    1. The National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines (the Guidelines) apply to the sale of food and drinks in school canteens and to all ACT public school activities and events.
    2. Food and drink vending machines are not permitted on ACT public school sites.
    3. Sugary drinks are not permitted to be sold in ACT public school canteens.
    4. Exemptions may be made by the principal for:
      • food and drink sold at occasional fetes, fundraisers and school events no more than twice per term although healthier alternatives are encouraged
      • food and drinks supplied from home, including birthday cakes
      • curriculum-related cooking and food-technology courses (schools are strongly encouraged to consider the Guidelines when making curriculum decisions with regard to cooking and food-technology).
    5. Schools are encouraged to apply the Guidelines (including the Traffic Light System) when food and drinks are provided to students participating in off-site school activities, such as excursions or school sports carnivals.
    6. Schools will consider religious and cultural practices where foods and drinks are provided at school events and activities.
    7. Principals may allow individual exemptions on a case by case basis for students with medical or cultural restrictions to allow them access to commonly available foods at the school canteen.
    8. Schools will not use RED category food and drink items as rewards or incentives for student learning.
    9. School canteens:
      • are registered as a food business and meet the requirements for the safe handling and sale of food under the Food Act 2001 (ACT).
      • are subject to an annual menu review by an external agency to assess the food and drinks provided and for sale against the Guidelines.
      • are subject to the requirements of the Food Act 2001 (ACT), Food Regulation ACT 2002 (ACT) and Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. These may include inspection and reporting requirements, where relevant.
      • must meet their responsibilities under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT), the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 (ACT) and the Fair Work Act 2009.
    10. Principals are required to enter into a current ACT Government licence agreement with any canteen operating on school premises. Strategic Finance on (02) 6205 9115 will provide canteen licence agreements and advice.
    11. Principals, in conjunction with School Boards, will provide Parents and Citizens Associations with the opportunity to operate the school canteen at the end of the contract period.
  3. Who does this policy apply to?
    1. This policy applies to all ACT public schools.
  4. Context
    1. The ACT Education and Training Directorate recognises that childhood is a time when attitudes about food and eating behaviours are formed. Once a child begins school, the school environment plays a role in influencing children’s food preferences.
    2. The links between health and education are well established. Healthy children are better able to learn, and higher levels of educational achievement are associated with better health.
    3. ACT public schools provide food and nutrition education as part of the curriculum. This provides students with opportunities to learn about food production, the benefits of healthy eating, nutritionally sound choices, and preparation of healthy foods.
    4. Schools are encouraged to access professional advice to support them in the implementation of the ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy through nutrition advisory services.
  5. Responsibilities
    1. The school Principal: is responsible for implementing this policy.
    2. Staff: in ACT public schools are encouraged to support the policy by not consuming RED category foods and drinks in view of students.
    3. Policy Owner: The Director, Learning and Teaching is responsible for this policy.
  6. Monitoring and Review
    1. The Policy Owner monitors the policy. This includes an annual scan of operation and review. A full review of the policy will be conducted within a three year period.
  7. Contact
    1. For support contact Learning and Teaching Branch on (02) 6205 9205.
  8. Complaints
    1. Any concerns about the application of this policy or the policy itself, should be raised with:
  9. References
    1. Definitions
      • Traffic Light System: The Guidelines categorise food and drinks as GREEN, AMBER or RED depending on their nutritional value and levels of saturated fat, sugar and salt.
    2. Legislation
    3. Implementation Documents
    4. Related Policies and Information

ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy: FAD201502 is the unique identifier of this document. It is the responsibility of the user to verify that this is the current and complete version of the document, available on the Directorate’s website at