Health and Nutrition Inspections

Health and Nutrition Inspectors (HNIs) are permanent staff members of Education Scotland. They are employed to monitor the fulfilment of statutory duties with the schools Health Promotion and Nutrition Act 2007 for all schools to be health-promoting and comply with nutritional regulations. Please note nutritional regulations were revised in 2020.  The current guidance is available here: Healthy Eating in Schools Guidance 2020.

Covid-19 update

Since March 2020 and the suspension of school inspection activities, HNIs have been redeployed to undertake roles as part of Education Scotland’s wider work in supporting parents, Scottish Government, local authority and education colleagues across the country during the current pandemic.

Working safely and remotely, HNIs engage with umbrella groups, support individual local authorities and national organisations to address queries and concerns in a constructive and supportive manner.

There are a number of current areas of work which are in focus at this time:

  • The provision of food in schools and challenges presented due to a number of factors e.g. accommodation, resources, reduced uptake, limited service, rising numbers of children and young people entitled to a free school meal;
  • Producing guidance documents to support the implementation of the revised Regulations (currently delayed until April 2021);
  • Finalising an online self-evaluation framework to support improvements in food in schools in Scotland;
  • Responding to queries relating to the revised regulations;
  • Hosting nutrition related webinars;
  • Offering support around food in schools through locality/regional routes;
  • Updating guidance documents in readiness for the introduction of the revised Regulations.

Deployment of HNIs on school inspections

HNIs undertake their monitoring role by joining a sample of inspections of primary, secondary and special schools across all local authorities in Scotland. If your school is going to be inspected and has a Health and Nutrition Inspector on the team, you can find information on what to expect in the following document.

PDF file: Deployment of Health and Nutrition Inspectors (HNIs) on school inspections (367 KB)

Self-evaluation of food in schools across Scotland

Education Scotland has developed a digital self-evaluation framework for food in schools across Scotland. The framework was co-created by Education Scotland with a group of local authority caterers and educators.  At its heart is a set of quality indicators which will help all those involved with food in school to identify strengths in their practice and areas where further improvement is required to improve positive health and wellbeing outcomes for children and young people.  A collaborative approach involving all practitioners involved with food in school, using high quality evidence, is essential. The framework can now be accessed via this link: Food in Schools across Scotland.

Inspection evidence

The HNIs work closely with the Scottish Government policy team responsible for school food. Evidence from inspection is used by HNIs to provide advice to Scottish Government on the development of policy in this area for example, by using this evidence as part of the review of the school food regulations.

As well as providing ongoing advice to Scottish Government colleagues, the HNIs support improvement and build capacity in school food provision and food education through the sharing of inspection findings with schools and local authorities.

Related links