Special diets

Does your child need a medical special diet to eat lunch at school?

If your child is already receiving a special diet and you would like this to continue but did not manage to register them before the September deadline, you can still create an account and upload your medical evidence. However, there is now a 10 day turnaround period from the date the application is received. During the turnaround period, parents will need to supply a packed lunch.

Once you have created your account, we will be able to review your medical evidence with our NHS dietician in order to devise an adapted menu for your child's school lunch.

You can then manage your account quickly, safely and conveniently online. It only takes a few minutes and once you've registered, you can see your child's individual menu and update medical evidence details whenever you need to. We'll also be able to send you updates when your child's new menus are created.

For children already receiving special diets, the new system will not affect the menu we already provide. Just upload your child's medical evidence and our team will match your application with the evidence we currently hold.

View our allergen matrix if you wish to check if you need to apply for a special diet for your child. Our standard primary school menu is always nut free and ingredients are manufactured in nut free environments. As we always offer at least two dishes each day for school lunch, you may find that the alternative dish works and choose not to register your child. In doing so you are taking responsibility for your child's choice. However, we do always strongly recommend full registration for any child with food allergies.

Living with allergies comes with its own set of rules so when it comes to food, as education caterers, we want to make this as easy as possible for you as a family. Our staff are trained in food safety and regularly update their skills on allergens. We never underestimate the dangers of food allergies and intolerances and we know what a big deal this is for you as parents. Trusting someone else to feed your child is a huge responsibility. And that's why we work hard to get it right.


HC3S has a dedicated special diet team that supports parents with special diet queries for their child. They create menus for children who are registered with HC3S as having a food allergy or intolerance and who want to have a school meal. Whilst we want all children to enjoy eating lunch at school, special diets are not provided for pupils who have a dislike of certain food. That’s why we require medical evidence that confirms your child’s medical allergy or intolerance. We then work with a dietician to produce specific diets to ensure food is suitable. Products used in these diets are never substituted.

Leaders in special diets

HC3S helped to develop school policy standards (issued in 2020) for managing allergen requirements. This included a process for analysing individual pupils. The LACA Allergen Management Guidance for Catering in Education aims to support schools, caterers and pupils in understanding the best practice for caterers in education with regards to managing allergens safely.

View the standards LACA Allergen Management Guidance

We have rigorous procedures and training in place for staff so parents can be assured that it is safe for their child to eat at school. To prevent cross contamination, our school kitchens are unable to accept any products that are brought in by parents or guardians. More information is available in our policy.

View our policy

If you have any questions then you can check our Frequently Asked Questions page

Frequently Asked Questions

Or you can call our team on 023 8062 9388, or email hc3sfooddevelopment@hants.gov.uk and one of the team will be happy to help you during office hours.

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