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Frequently Asked Questions


How do you create your school menus?

Our menus are produced centrally by our Food Development team and each recipe is tested in schools before making it on to our menu cycles. Our Cooks provide feedback on the recipes twice a year and this feedback influences future menu planning.

How do I apply for free school meals for my child?

You can apply for benefit related free school meals online at or call 0300 123 4048. All Key Stage 1 pupils are automatically entitled to free school lunches in England.

How can I get a copy of my child's school menu?

School menus can be accessed from the dropdown menu from the Parents tab on this website or alternatively, please follow this link and type in your child's school to see a copy which you can downloaded, printed or saved.

Do I need to register my child for school meals?

You will only be required to register your child with HCL if they require a special dietary menu - for allergy, intolerance or lifestyle reasons (e.g. vegan). You can apply online via the Allergies link on this website.
In all other cases, the registration for school meals is managed by each school and parents/carers should contact the school office to discuss arrangements.

Do I have to fill in a form regarding my child's vegetarian diet requirement?

We do not require online applications for vegetarian diets as we already provide a daily vegetarian option as standard.

I would like to pay for my child's school lunch, how I can do this?

Payments for school meals are made directly to the school your child attends. Please liaise with the school office who will be able to provide more information.

Is the meat in my child's school Halal?

HCL does not use Halal meat as standard. If there is a significant requirement within a school we can potentially offer a Halal provision alongside our main offering, but this will only be offered if agreed and instructed to do so by the school.

My child has an Allergy/Dietary requirement can HCL provide this for them?

HCL has a rigorous process in place to provide a safe meal service to pupils with food allergies or intolerances, which we supply on behalf of your child's school. If your child has a food allergy or intolerance and meets the qualifying criteria, then we have a range of delicious and nutritious menus designed especially for your child's medical requirement. Please follow this link to find out more.

My child would like to try a school meal on Fridays only, is this possible?

Your child can choose which day/s they would like to eat a school lunch provided by HCL. Please liaise directly with their school and they will be able to organise this for you with our HCL catering team.

My child loves a dish on your menu; could you tell me how it is made please, so I can cook it at home?

HCL is able to provide a small number of recipes from our current menu, for parents to recreate at home. Please use the contact form or email us on

Catering Services

Are HCL able to cater for in-school hospitality events?

HCL is pleased to offer a range of delicious menus to support hospitality requirements. Whether for a breakfast meeting, to welcome your visitors, a Governors' dinner or refreshments for staff attending Parents' Evenings, HCL can provide you with a tailored service which fulfils your hospitality needs. Simply call your HCL Contract Manager or call our Head Office on 01707 292500.

I am interested in finding out HCL's policy regarding disposable plastic cutlery and cups and your policy on recycling.

Plastic cutlery and cups will only be used in cases of emergence such as mechanical breakdown or burst pipes, etc. It is the responsibility of each school for the disposal of waste and how it is recycled. We therefore suggest that you liaise with your child's school if you have a question regarding the recycling of waste products.

Please could you provide details of your catering service provision as we are reviewing our current catering provider?

We would very much like to hear from you to discuss your catering requirements. Please call 01707 292500 or email