Food – a fact of life (FFL) has been supporting teachers for over thirty years, providing materials and events for all corners of the UK, and beyond. In 2004, we took our mission online and continued to grow and produce more resources that teachers could use in school. In 2021, over 420,000 visitors used the website and over 1.3 million resources were downloaded.
Whilst we regularly get informal feedback on our work, we want to ensure that our materials make a real difference to the teachers that use them. Therefore, we commissioned a survey in 2021, to investigate our impact. This resulted in a paper in the British Nutrition Foundation’s Nutrition Bulletin, which analysed the data and explored the wider context.
Over five hundred teachers responded to the survey. Around four in five were practising teachers, but teaching assistants, trainee teachers and head teachers also responded. Most teachers were from secondary schools, but a range of other schools were also represented (see below).
We asked teachers to rate the impact of FFL resources on their teaching practice:
Saving teachers time and money
We were keen to establish whether the materials on the FFL website supported teachers with their greatest challenges, namely time and money (as reported in our own research and elsewhere). More than nine in ten teachers agreed that our resources had saved them time and over eight in ten said the resources had saved them money.
The benefits of modifiable resources
Our online resources are fully editable. This allows for the personalisation of these resources for specific settings in the classroom or to modify the complexity based on the unique needs of the pupils in a particular group. Most teachers said that they modified resources at least some of the time (77%), which demonstrates the value of providing valuable core materials that can be tailored to different needs.
Enabling delivery of valuable lessons and trusted resources
Teachers scored FFL highly when asked whether our resources helped in:
- delivering classes (82% agreed)
- structuring lessons (78% agreed)
- increasing confidence (71% agreed)
96% of teachers also said that using resources on the FFL website provided them with new ideas. Teachers with less experience were more likely to agree or strongly agree with the responses on the survey, which demonstrates the value of the resources and guidance to those who are just starting out in their careers. 97% of teachers also agreed that they used FFL resources because they were from a source that they trust.
We asked teachers to rate the impact of FFL resources on their pupils:
Pupils are more informed
Over two-thirds of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that pupils were more informed about how to cook. This was higher in early years settings and primary schools, where four out of five teachers agreed or strongly agreed (Figure 2). Almost nine in ten teachers also agreed that pupils were more informed about healthy eating and where food comes from.
Pupils are more knowledgeable
Two-thirds of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that pupils’ food skills had improved. As before, this was more pronounced in early years settings and primary schools, with 83% agreeing or strongly agreeing (Figure 2).
Whilst we’re pleased with how teachers responded about their pupils being informed and knowledgeable, we can certainly see additional opportunities to work on more resources to improve food skills and how to cook, particularly in older pupils.
Pupils are more engaged
Seven in ten teachers agreed or strongly agreed that their pupils are more engaged and focused in lessons, and none disagreed. We’re particularly happy with this statistic, as it suggests that our resources are not only enhancing the knowledge and skills of pupils, but that they are also able to hold attention and pupil interest in the classroom.
Teachers who visited the website more often tended to also agree more strongly with the statements above.
In addition, around a third of teachers stated that their pupils probably or definitely would not have achieved similar results in their examinations, with a further third stating they would have achieved some but not all of the results and almost a quarter saying that they could have achieved the same results, but not as quickly as with the FFL resources.
Less than one in ten teachers said that they definitely would have achieved the same results without the FFL website and resources.
We really value the feedback that we get from teachers and pupils alike who use our website and materials. This article is a snapshot into the tangible benefits that using Food – a fact of life has had to teachers in the UK (and beyond!), but we know that there are always improvements we can make to our resources and the website as a whole.
If you have any thoughts, we’d be delighted to hear them. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback or ideas you may have.
A big thank you to all the dedicated and hardworking teachers out there, from the team at Food – a fact of life!
If you would like to find out more about our impact, you can read the full research paper: Food for thought: Does the Food - a fact of life website benefit food and nutrition teaching in the UK?
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