Developing skills for independent living

Here you will find resources to support pupils with additional needs developing skills for independent living.

Here you will find support for teaching and learning around developing skills for independent living and in particular, planning what to cook, shopping, cooking and eating.

These resources support key considerations for teaching pupils with additional needs, based on the Characteristics of good practice in teaching food and nutrition education to pupils with additional needs document produced by the British Nutrition Foundation.

When supporting pupils, it is essential that they acquire, develop and secure skills and knowledge, and have a range of experiences around food and drink, cooking, and looking after themselves, to support their health, wellbeing and independent living.

It is important, when setting activities for pupils with additional needs around independent living, to ensure that:

  • Staff plan food, drink and cooking activities to promote skills for independent living that are pupil-centred and focus on being able to feed themselves well and keep healthy.
  • Staff ensure provision has been made for pupils with physical disabilities, food allergies, intolerances and/or other dietary requirements, including sensory issues, so they can participate safely in food activities.
  • Staff plan activities that use food as a context to develop pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills in relation to independent living, such as planning meals, compiling shopping lists, reading food labels and making a budget.
  • Staff plan activities that promote recognition and familiarisation from home to school and the wider world, including meaningful employment.
  • Staff set up hygienic and safe independent living spaces for practical food preparation.
  • Staff act as role models and ensure that food hygiene and safety standards are maintained.
  • Staff use positive reinforcement and motivate pupils to become familiar and more competent with new skills, leading to an increase in pupils’ confidence, interest and motivation.

The resources were developed through collaboration with experts in additional needs education across the UK and meet the Guidelines for producers and users of school education resources about food.

The British Nutrition Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support of the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation in the development of these resources around skills for independent living.

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