The school curriculum, including that for food and nutrition, is different throughout the UK. The following provides a summary of the curriculum for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The national curriculum for England is taught in all local authority-maintained schools. The curriculum support Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 (primary and secondary education, 5-14 years) (some subjects have details for Key Stage 4, 14-16 years).
Food is mainly taught through:
Physical education also plays an important part in pupil health and wellbeing.
For further information on the curriculum in England, go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum
In primary schools (5-11 years), food is taught mainly through health education. It supports Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in The World Around Us (Science and Technology, Geography) and Personal Development and Mutual Understanding.
During secondary school education (11-14 years), food is taught through three main areas:
For further information on the curriculum in Northern Ireland, go to: http://ccea.org.uk/curriculum/
The curriculum in Scotland has recently been reviewed and published in 2009. From early years to secondary schools (3-16), food is taught progressively through:
For further information on the curriculum in Scotland, go to: https://education.gov.scot/
The curriculum in Wales ensures that children in early years, primary school and secondary school have experiences learning about food. The curriculum comprises Early years, with progression onto National Curriculum (Key Stages 2 and 3, 8-14 years).
The three areas of the National Curriculum where food is mainly featured are:
For further information on the curriculum in Wales, go to:http://learning.gov.wales/resources/improvementareas/curriculum/?lang=en
There are as number of food related qualifications that young people can take between the ages of 14 – 18 years. The type and content of qualification varies, depending on your location within the UK. Qualifications include food preparation and nutrition, biology, science, physical education and, hospitality and catering. Different Awarding Organisations provide qualifications.
The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England. Qualifications are provided by a number of Awarding Organisations (exam boards), who are regulated by Ofqual.
Some of the Awarding Organisations that offer ‘food’ qualifications include:
Ofqual provides a search function to find qualifications at https://register.ofqual.gov.uk/
The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) brings together the three areas of curriculum, examinations and assessment in Northern Ireland. It advises government on what should be taught in schools, monitors standards and awards qualifications.
Key ‘food’ qualifications include: Agriculture and land use, Biology, Food and nutrition, Home economics, Food science and nutrition, and Hospitality.
To find out more, go to:
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) accredits and awards qualifications.
Key ‘food’ qualifications include: Health and food technology, Hospitality, Science, and Food, Health and Wellbeing.
To find out more, go to: https://www.sqa.org.uk/
WJEC is an examination board, providing qualifications and exam assessment to schools. With over 65 years’ experience in delivering qualifications, WJEC is the largest provider in Wales
Key ‘food’ qualifications include: Food preparation and nutrition, Hospitality and catering, Food science and nutrition, and Science.
To find out more, go to: https://www.wjec.co.uk/
There are a number of national frameworks that have been developed to support food teaching and learning. This area includes details about:
If you are interested in food provision in schools, click here.
1. Core competences for children and young people aged 5-16 years
In 2007, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched Core Food Competences for children and young people aged 5-16 years, developed in consultation with the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF). The competences set out a progressive framework of skills and knowledge which comprise essential building blocks around the themes of diet and health, consumer awareness, cooking and food safety for children and young people. These competences have been widely used, as they provided consistency and a focal point. Uses included an audit tool for teachers mapping out lessons, a guide for developers creating resources for schools and a framework to support curricular change and examination specifications.
BNF, along with Public Health England (PHE), FSA Northern Ireland, FSA Scotland and the Welsh Government, initiated a review of the original framework in 2014 to ensure that it is up-to-date and reflects key areas of priority for children and young people in relation to their education, life skills and health. It was subsequently updated again in 2016 in light of the Eatwell Guide.
The Core competences:
The Core competences can be used as:
For further information on the Core competences, go to: http://www.nutrition.org.uk/foodinschools/competences/competences.html
2. Food teaching in schools: A framework of knowledge and skills
Public Health England (PHE), along with the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), initiated the development of a Food teaching in schools framework in response to a meeting comprising the BNF, with the Food Teachers Centre, OfSTED, Department for Education and School Food Plan to discuss the management and provision of food teaching in 2015. The development of guidelines for food teaching was an action that all felt imperative to ensure the quality of food teaching in schools.
The purpose of this guidance is to help primary and secondary schools implement the requirements for food within the new National Curriculum for Design and Technology (D&T) in England and the Core competences for children and young people aged 5 to 16 years (and GCSE for secondary schools). These curriculum measures, together with the other action points of the School Food Plan, seek to promote a 'pro-food' ethos in schools and heighten awareness of the integral part that food and a whole school approach plays in children's health, well-being and attainment. However, the basic principles can be applied throughout the UK.
It is intended that the framework can be used to:
The framework was been developed to:
The framework is presented in nine sections:
1. Developing professional competence;
2. Taking a whole school approach;
3. Teaching the curriculum;
4. Managing practical food classes;
5. Teaching food preparation and cooking;
6. Engaging in designing, making and evaluating with food;
7. Promoting and applying nutrition;
8. Applying aspects of consumer awareness;
9. Implementing good food safety and hygiene.
3. Guidelines for producers and users of school education resources about food
Note: These guidelines are currently under development and should be available after Easter in 2019.
The importance of food education in our schools continues to be part of the solution to ensure that pupils learn how to make healthy food choices now and in the future. This forms part of the strategy to tackle childhood obesity in the UK.
These guidelines build on recent work that has embedded cooking and nutrition into the curriculum, set out food competences for children and young people aged 5 to 16 years, and established the skills and knowledge required by teachers to teach food in primary and secondary schools.
This document sets out a series of voluntary guidelines which can be adopted as part of a good practice approach by those that produce education resources for schools about food. It is hoped that they will be used to further support the work of food education in schools, ensuring that children and young people use up-to-date, evidence-based and high-quality resources to support their learning about their food choices.
The scope and purpose
The guidelines aim to:
The guidelines cover all types of resources, such as (but not limited to) posters, leaflets, teaching packs, teacher guides, videos, presentations, webinars, recipes, board games and cards, interactive games and activities, online learning and activities, and whiteboard activities. The guidelines are not intended to be applied to academic materials, such as (university) text books.
Who are they for?
The guidelines have been developed for a variety of audiences, including:
How can they be used?
It is anticipated that the guidelines can be used in a variety of ways, such as:
This document includes a checklist that could be used for planning and production purposes, as well as auditing.
4. Characteristics of good practice in food and nutrition education in secondary schools
Note: This document is currently under development and should be available in mid-2019.
This publication exemplifies the characteristics of good practice in teaching food and nutrition education in secondary schools. A similar document, Characteristics of good practice in food technology (1996), was produced to help schools implement food technology as part of the National Curriculum for Design and Technology.
The publication will:
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