A primary school has promised improvement after its kitchen received one of the worst food hygiene ratings in Bexley.

Hope Community School in Sidcup has vowed to "urgently" address the rating, after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) discovered a catalogue of failings during their visit in December.

It was found that staff were not wearing protective clothing and could not tell the inspector what allergens were in the food they were serving to pupils.

The grim discoveries led to an overall "one" hygiene rating, the second lowest possible – placing it in the bottom 1.1 per cent of establishments in the borough.

READ MORE: The Bexley Kitchen given a 1 in food hygiene rating

A spokesperson for the school said: "We take food hygiene very seriously.

"The lower than expected rating was predominantly due to improvements needing to be made in the paperwork and procedures element of the inspection.

"The school very recently took the catering inhouse, and was therefore in a transitional stage during the inspection, which meant the catering team were still in the process of establishing the appropriate paperwork and procedures required."

Hope Community School in Sidcup was deemed to need "major improvement" by the Food Standards Agency, following an inspection on December 12, 2023.

News Shopper: The Sidcup primary school said they will address the issues 'urgently'The Sidcup primary school said they will address the issues 'urgently' (Image: Google Maps)

The full report for the primary school was revealed in a Freedom of Information Request from the Newsquest AI team.

The report stated that staff could not provide "accurate allergen information" for the food they were serving to children and did not wear "protective clothing" in the kitchen area.

Although the handling of food and the cleanliness of the facilities were rated as good, the management of food safety needed "major improvement".

The report said: "There is presently no documented food safety management system."

It added: "There was evidence to show that food handlers had not been supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters.

"All food handlers should have a current up-to-date food hygiene certificate."

The school said its food handler has a Certificate in Food and Safety Hygiene, however they did not have it to hand during the inspector’s visit.

READ MORE: Best and worst Bexley primary schools revealed ahead of deadline

The Sidcup school also had incomplete allergen charts and "no temperature monitoring records" for checking if high-risk food was properly cooked or stored - these checks should be in place to "prevent the growth of harmful bacteria".

The inspector highlighted other "poor practices" seen at the time of inspection, including leaving open cans of "peach slices" in the fridge and storing raw meat equipment with equipment used for ready-to-eat food.

A spokesperson for the school said: "Since the inspection, we have put robust measures in place to address this urgently and we now look forwards to welcoming the inspector back next half term, where we will be able to demonstrate full compliance with management procedures and we are confident our rating will score highly.

They added: "In the meantime, we continue to ensure that food hygiene remains a top priority for all staff working in the kitchen.” 

READ MORE: Hope Community School Sidcup upgraded to good by Ofsted

Food hygiene ratings play a critical role in ensuring the safety and quality of food establishments in the United Kingdom.

Food hygiene inspections, conducted unannounced by trained food safety officers, evaluate an establishment's food handling protocols, cleanliness, and management practices.

After an inspection, restaurants and food outlets are assigned a rating from 0 to 5, with 0 indicating urgent improvement necessary and 5 indicating very good standards.

Only 1.1 per cent of establishments in Bexley have a food hygiene score of 1, with the majority of restaurants and food outlets receiving a 5 from the FSA.