Cooking in the curriculum
As part of the School Food Plan, cooking became a compulsory in the curriculum in September 2014 for all children at primary and secondary school up to the end of Key Stage Three. We are really pleased with this development!
Schools are encouraged to take a whole school approach to food, which includes teaching quality cooking skills, as well as through whole school food policies and comprehensive schemes of work. There is also consideration for nutrition and using nutritional, balanced ingredients during cooking activities, instead of focusing on sweet or high fat foods.
Food origin, labels and choice all feature within the guidelines to deliver effective cookery and promote consumer awareness. Portion sizes, allergy awareness, Fairtrade and ethical sourcing are also part of the curriculum activities.
There is emphasis on children having appropriate skills, such as the safe use of knives, peelers, graters and other such equipment. Cooking activities do not always have to involve cooking using a hob or oven – there are plenty of other options which facilitate a range of skilled learning without heat. Children should also have an awareness of food safety and hygiene processes – such as cross-contamination and hand hygiene.
The primary curriculum guidance document from Public Health England helps to outline what delivery of this subject could and should look like, highlighting the knowledge and skills that children should learn.
Similarly, the secondary curriculum guidance document offers the same support.
Cooking can be embedded into the curriculum across all subjects:
English - Recipe and instruction writing; persuasive writing; descriptions; diaries.
Geography - Exploring cuisine from different parts of the world; native cooking.
History - Food dishes from periods in history; bread making through time.
Maths - Weighing, measuring, ratios and scaling, fractions.
Languages - Continental dishes with links to language and culture.
PSHE - Healthy eating links; mental health and wellbeing benefits of cookery; healthy recipes.
Science - Bread making, yeast, measuring carbon dioxide gases produced.
Food in Schools Programmes
If you'd like to focus more on building a positive food culture in school there are a variety of programmes available to schools free of charge in Leicestershire.
Food for Life programme – All about transforming food culture, the Food for Life Schools Award is a great way to demonstrate that your school is doing fantastic work to provide healthy school meals, great lunchtimes and food education that has a positive impact on both pupils and the wider community.
Food Routes – Delivered by our colleagues from Leicestershire Nutrition and Dietetic Service (LNDS) the 'Food Routes' project is aimed at primary schools and covers four key themes; diet and health, cooking, food safety and shopping.
Big Cook, Little Cook – Part of the 'Food Routes' project, delivered by LNDS, schools have the opportunity to hold a big cook, little cook course where parents and children get to eat a variety of different foods while learning to cook together with the help of the food routes team.
Packed with Health -Healthy ways to fill a child's lunch box