Seventeen primary schools across Gloucestershire are searching for a new school dinners provider after an independent Cheltenham caterer announced it has gone into liquidation.
The School Dinner Company (SDL) has informed schools and creditors that it stopped trading as of January 2.
The company, which was based in Park Farm Industrial Estate,
Evesham Road, was set up by partners Julie Owen and Adam Hands and, on its website, claimed to have more than 22 years experience.
Its chefs cooked out of seven kitchens in the Cheltenham area serving primary schools including St Gregory’s, Rowanfield School, and Swindon Village Primary School and catered for around 1,500 schoolchildren and staff.
The company also held in-house classes with pupils across Cheltenham.
In September last year, the company received a five star rating for its Scores on the Doors.
A notice said: “We regret to advise you that The School Dinner Company LLP has ceased to trade and will shortly be commencing liquidation proceedings.
“The Partners have instructed Andrew Shackleton of Smart Insolvency Solutions to assist in this process.
“If you are a creditor of the Company you will receive formal notification shortly.”
Edwards & Ward, Gloucester County Council contacted school’s caterer based in Waterwells Business Park, Gloucester, has increased school meal uptake from 8,000 to more than 10,000 meals per day since it took on the county council contract in 2009.
The number of schools in the contract has gone up from 158 to 180, while the number of families signing up for free school meals has also increased, bringing more money into schools through the Government’s Pupil Premium - funding that schools receive to meet the needs of vulnerable pupils.
Councillor Paul McLain, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Each school has the choice of who provides its meals and how that contract is delivered.
“In Gloucestershire, 180 schools get their meals through the county council’s school meal contract with Edwards & Ward and we’re very pleased with the quality and service provided.
“This particular arrangement was between the provider and the schools who chose its service and doesn’t form any part of the county council’s school meals contract.
“We will continue to offer advice to the schools involved, encouraging them to engage with staff and parents and to seek alternative arrangements as soon as possible.”
The Echo contacted several schools formerly contracted to SDC about their options. No one was available for comment.