SCHOOLS in Westmorland in Furness with three-star food hygiene ratings have pledged to improve their standards.

Casterton School in Casterton, Underley Garden School in Kirkby Lonsdale and Cambridge Primary School in Barrow have been rated three out of five by the Food Agency Standards, according to their website. 

Following an inspection on November 9, 2023, at Casterton School, the reports found that the cleanliness and condition of facilities and building and the management of food safety were 'generally satisfactory', and the hygienic food handling was found 'good.' 

A spokesperson for Casterton School explained that prior to the inspection, the school kitchen encountered 'structural damage attributable to autumnal storms, resulting in water ingress within the wash-up areas and consequential effects on paintwork and plaster.'

They said: "It is noteworthy that the food preparation area remained entirely unaffected by these adverse weather conditions. The subsequent ramifications on our routine cleaning regime have been promptly rectified, and both issues have been resolved. We are actively pursuing a reinspection at the earliest opportunity to underscore our unwavering commitment to upholding the highest standards and recognise the repair work which has since taken place."

Underley Garden School was last inspected on March 2023, and the reports found that the hygienic food handling, the cleanliness and condition of facilities and the building and the management of food safety were 'generally satisfactory.'

A spokesperson from the Underley Gardens school said they take their food hygiene 'very seriously' and are looking to get their 5-star rating back.

They said: "It is our priority to ensure each pupil, regardless of their food preferences, can enjoy a variety of freshly prepared meal options at every meal time.

"Our rating moved from 5 to 3 due to minor record-keeping issues that occurred when we relocated our kitchen. They were resolved within 24 hours of the inspector’s visit in March 2023. Unfortunately, we were unable to secure re-inspection at that time.  Our next annual inspection will take place in March this year - we look forward to returning to our 5-star rating when the inspection takes place next month."

Orian is the catering provider for Cambridge Primary School in Barrow, and following the inspection on October 5 2023, the reports found that the hygienic food handling, the cleanliness and condition of facilities and the building were 'generally satisfactory', and the management of food safety was 'good.'

Elaine Watson, Chartered Environmental Health Officer for Orian, said: "We work very quickly on all issues noted on the report and have now been addressed. Since then we have carried out further two full health safety and food safety audits internally - one on November 23 and January 24 and both of them passed.

"We haven't applied for the rescore yet because we want to make sure that our high standards are being maintained. Now we are in a position to apply to Westmorland and Furness council for a rescore inspection and hopefully, that will reinstate the five which we have held previously at that school."

In Westmorland and Furness, 17 schools have a four-star rating, and 170 schools have a five-star score hygiene score.