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School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme

  • Last modified date:
    22 March 2010
School children eating bananas

The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme is part of the 5 A DAY programme to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. All four to six year old children in LEA maintained infant, primary and special schools are entitled to a free piece of fruit or vegetable each school day.  

Following the success of the early pilots, £42million of lottery money supported the expansion of the scheme region by region.  In January 2004, the Department of Health  announced that it would fund the scheme after the lottery funding ceased in March 2005 and expanded the scheme further to include all English regions by November 2004. The roll out of the scheme was complete in November 2004, and now nearly 2 million children in over 16,000 schools receive a free piece of fruit or vegetable every day.

Produce currently used in the scheme : 

  • Apples
  • Pears 
  • Easy peel citrus 
  • Bananas 
  • Carrots 
  • Cocktail tomatoes 
  • Sugar snap peas 
  • Strawberries
  • Mini cucumbers

Piloting the Scheme

One of the most important considerations in developing the scheme was to make sure that it was as easy as possible for schools to operate.  Over 500 schools took part in early pilots of the scheme throughout England in 2000 and 2001.

Key findings of these pilots included:

  • 99% of schools thought the reliability of the fruit deliveries was either excellent or acceptable
  •  93% of schools thought the overall quality of the fruit was good
  • The majority of children were positive about the Scheme
  • School staff regarded the Scheme as: a way of improving children's health (99%) and a supplement to children's diets (99%)
  • 97% of schools regarded the Scheme as a support to teaching and learning about healthy eating
  • Giving the fruit out in individual class groups has the advantage of providing a social time and a time for learning
  • More than half of the survey schools (55%) had noticed an improvement in the ethos and atmosphere in the classes involved in the Scheme.

For more detailed information on the evaluation results of the pilot phase, the Evaluation Summary is available in Portable Document Format.

Evaluating the Scheme

The National Foundation of Educational Research has conducted two evaluations of the Scheme since it was rolled out in 2004.  Findings now cover the period from 2004 to 2008 and evaluate the impact of the scheme on:

  • Children's consumption of fruit & veg
  • Children's dietary patterns/nutritional intake
  • Children's knowledge, attitudes and awareness
  • School catering arrangements
  • Classroom teaching on healthy eating

Hard copies of the documents featured on this page are available free of charge by contacting the Department of Health at:

PO Box 777 London SE1 6XH
Tel: 0870 155 54 55
Fax: 01623 724 524

For further information on the scheme, schools should either email the Scools Fruit and Vegetables mailbox (link below) or call 01924 328518.

Additional links

5 A DAY (opens new window)

The 5 A DAY website encourages people to eat more fruit and vegetables.

Ordering 5 A DAY resources (opens new window)

Phone: 0300 123 1002 OR order from prolog online and search '5 A DAY'

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