What are the ingredients for a food and nutrition education that is diverse, inclusive and fit for the future?

What are the ingredients for a future food and nutrition education?

Society is changing, pupils and their family’s needs are changing. So, how can we, as educators, make sure that the food and nutrition education that pupils across the UK receive is fit for purpose? That it reflects and meets the needs of our increasingly culturally diverse communities, along with the needs of society?

The British Nutrition Foundation has been working on this conundrum this year, with the support of the All Saints Educational Trust.  One aspect of this is finding out what teachers and pupils think about their food and nutrition education, what lessons should look like in the future and what recipes should be made in schools.

So, we conducted a pupil and teacher survey to find out! The full results of the survey can be found here. However, a snapshot shows that:

  • Pupils, mainly Key Stage 3/S2, rated their overall experience in food as mostly ‘good’ or ‘very good’. However, pupils rated their experience of ‘Where food comes from’ as less positive.
  • The majority of pupils enjoyed practical lessons and wanted more. They rated their teaching as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and they enjoyed independent learning.
  • When asked to sum-up their learning experiences pupils described it as: enjoyable, fun, and interesting. However, on a less positive note, some described it as stressful, crowded and loud.

Another aspect of our work was to hold a consensus building event to find out what a future modern, diverse food and nutrition education should look like.  A report is currently being written, with recommendations, which will be published by the end of March 2022.  It is hoped that the recommendations will help to move the profession forward to a more diverse and inclusive food and nutrition education across the UK.

A third part of the project is to develop a range of recipes new to Food – a fact of life from cuisines around the world.  Based on what pupils said they wanted to cook at school, the recipes will be from six cuisines: African, Middle Eastern, Eastern Asian, Caribbean Islands, South American and Eastern European. The recipes will be developed over time and the recipes from African cuisines, such as West African Jollof rice, the wonderfully named Bunny chow and the delicious Mealie bread, can be found here.

We will also be running training to support teachers with building diversity and inclusion into their schemes of work and lessons. Including, incorporating different flavours, ingredients and culinary techniques and experiences to widen young people’s understanding of food and cultures around the world; encouraging pupils to share their personal experiences around food culture, ingredients and recipes with the class or school community, and considering healthy, sustainable diets.

Training will include online webinars and virtual practical workshops. A webinar around  Building cultural awareness when delivering healthy eating messages took place in December 2021 and the video recording can be found here.

The virtual practical workshops will introduce teachers to the new to Food – a fact of life recipes and provide an opportunity to discuss the different food cultures, traditions and ingredients for the six cuisines.  

For more information about the Food skills, recipes and diversity workshops, and to book your place, click on the links below:  

  • African cuisines – this took place on 1 March 2022 and the training resources can be found here
  • Middle Eastern cuisines – 23 March 2022
  • Eastern Asian cuisines – 6 April 2022
  • Caribbean Islands cuisines – 4 May 2022
  • South American cuisines – 18 May 2022
  • Eastern European cuisines – 15 June 2022

Please note, spaces are limited to a maximum of 20, so please only book to attend one of the workshops. Choose the cuisine that interests you and your pupils the most! 

So, what are the ingredients? We believe that it is enthusiastic, well trained and supported teachers who deliver a curriculum that young people need and want, who encourage diversity and inclusion in everything they do and with an underlying focus on healthy, sustainable diets.  Find out more when our report is published shortly!

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