Special Diets

Meet our Paediatric Dietitian

Rebecca Weeks joined the City Catering Southampton menu-development team in June 2018, as our consultant Paediatric Dietitian.

Graduating from King’s College London in 2002, Rebecca has specialised in paediatric dietetics since 2003. Her focus for City Catering Southampton is on our allergy and special-diet menus, helping us shape the future of specialist school meals in Southampton.

Alongside her menu-development work, Rebecca’s knowledge and experience supports our strategic aim to promote nutrition – in partnership with our Member schools – delivering food education sessions that link into the national curriculum.

Rebecca completed an MSc in public health nutrition in 2012, and has been part of various clinical teams at Southampton NHS Trust; she currently leads the paediatric diabetes service.

Catering for your child's dietary requirements

City Catering Southampton provides special diets for pupils with medical conditions and allergies, who want to enjoy a school meal. Please note that medical evidence of the allergy is required before a menu can be adjusted.

All of our menus are nut-free; this means all children with nut allergies can enjoy a school dinner without having to register for a special diet.

We currently cater for the following diets:

  • Coeliac (Gluten and Wheat free)
  • Wheat, gluten, barley, rye and oats free
  • Dairy Free
  • Soya free
  • Legume free
  • Tomato free
  • Sesame free
  • Egg free

Our menus are devised in line with School Food Plan and the stringent requirements of Food For Life. We consult with an external paediatric dietician in preparing our menus. A combination menu to satisfy multiple allergies may be provided where possible.

How do I request a special diet menu?

Print and complete the food allergy referral form, to register with City Catering Southampton and please ensure the school is aware of the allergy. Post the form to City Catering Southampton, Second Floor, Latimer House,5-7 Cumberland Place, Southampton SO15 2BH, or scan and email it to admin@citycateringsouthampton.co.uk. We will then adjust the menu appropriately and send copies to all concerned. We may need to make an appointment with you to discuss any concerns.

Why do I need to provide medical evidence?

To ensure that your child’s diet is monitored by a health professional.

When can my child receive their special diet?

Our Food Development team will develop a bespoke menu for your child which will be sent to your school after 10 working days, once we have your paperwork and medical evidence in hand. A copy of this menu is sent to the school who will inform you when your child can start eating a school lunch.

Identifying your child

We need to clearly identify your child when we serve them, to ensure they receive the correct meal. The process each school follows varies, but for most schools children with special diets are provided with a wristband or lanyard to wear. They may also be escorted to the service counter, or be served first in their year group. Please speak with your child’s school admin team for more information.

Will my child have the opportunity to take part when their school holds theme day lunches?

Yes, as long as we know they’d like lunch that day – we create a menu for pupils with allergies, linked with the theme. Please ensure that you let your school know, with plenty of time, that your child would like lunch on a theme day, to ensure we can create a suitable alternative meal that is suitable for your child’s special dietary needs.

Are your kitchens ‘free from?

Unfortunately, we are unable to class our school kitchens as ‘free from’, because we prepare non-allergy meals in the same units. But, we do prepare special diets separately from other meals, to provide as much separation as is possible.

Special diets for religious and ethical reasons

Vegan menus are available upon request.