Traditional school canteens in Canberra’s high schools could be set for a revamp, with the ACT Parents and Citizens Association proposing they become cafes.
The cafes would offer different food options on the menu and seating in a bid to create a better environment for students.
P and C association president John Haydon said some high school students walked to the local shops to purchase their food and changing the canteen to a cafe could make it more competitive.
“It makes the canteen into more of a social hub,” Mr Haydon told ABC Radio Canberra.
“It acts as a gathering point for students, possibly staff. It’s just got a nicer, more upmarket, modern feel to it.”
Mr Haydon said canteens had struggled over the past few years and the proposed changes could make them more profitable.
“It’s been hard to get volunteers … but also the canteens have had to meet additional food and dietary requirements,” he said.
“So while we’re supportive of canteens selling healthy food, it has made the menu choices more difficult and it’s probably reduced some of the profitability of canteens as well.”
Calwell High leading the way
Mr Haydon said he hoped the ACT Government would allocate funding for the upgrades in next week’s budget.
He said other schools could look to Calwell High School in Canberra’s south as a great example of what could be done to improve canteens.
“They actually built new furniture from recycled pallets and doors,” he said.
“The students were involved in designing the furniture and constructing the furniture, so it had a much more visually appealing space to sit down and make the canteen a cafe environment.”
Mr Haydon said canteens had come a long way in the past few years allowing students to pay by card, order online and purchase healthier options.