Characteristics of good practice in teaching food and nutrition education

This guide sets out to provide direction on teaching food and nutrition across the UK that was, in the past, often passed on through experienced teachers, local authority advisers and other experts.

While the curricula and qualifications around the UK set out what should be taught, and teacher trainers and professional development providers focus on themes such as pedagogy, class room management and resource provision, there is little in the way of specific guidance on teaching modern food and nutrition in UK secondary schools.

With low numbers of teachers being ‘food’ trained, fragmented support and non-food specialist teachers regularly teaching in the classroom, BNF believed that there was a need to provide guidance and direction, and highlight key characteristics of good practice. It was also important that this ‘guidance’ was UK wide – while there are curricula differences, there are similarities with regard to professional competence, classroom management, knowledge and skills.

The Characteristics of good practice in teaching food and nutrition education sets out a series of characteristics of good practice, determined via consensus building exercises with the secondary school food teaching community from the UK, which can be adopted as part of a good practice approach by all those that teach food and nutrition.

The guide aims to:

  • define the key characteristics of good practice that are specific to teaching food and nutrition;
  • exemplify these characteristics of good practice in UK secondary schools;
  • highlight the key features of achieving these characteristics, showing how these can be put into practice, with teacher insights and suggestions of how to develop these for the future;
  • support the food and nutrition teaching community, especially trainee, newly qualified and non-food specialist teachers;
  • enable practising teachers to audit their own practice to plan and implement personal and professional development goals.

How can it be used?

It is anticipated that this guide can be used in a variety of ways, such as:

  • showcasing practice through defined characteristics;
  • encouraging consideration of other characteristics of good practice leading to further discussion and implementation;
  • promoting lifelong personal and professional development, helping individuals to audit their knowledge and skill-set;
  • developing the management of the subject;
  • acknowledging the role of the teacher in the whole school approach to health and wellbeing.

To find out more, click here

An online course based on the Characteristics of good practice in teaching food and nutrition education, and suitable for trainee, newly qualified and more experienced secondary food teachers, will be available shortly.


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Developing professional competence

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Taking a whole school approach

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Teaching the curriculum

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Managing the subject

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Good food hygiene and safety practices

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Food skill competency

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Food provenance know-how

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Nutrition proficiency

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Consumer awareness

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Food science aptitude

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