News / Children's Food Campaign

Proposed curriculum not yet cooked to perfection

Children's Food Campaign responds to the publication of the new draft National Curriculum and cooking and food education's place within it.

Responding to the publication by the Department for Education of the draft National Curriculum and launch of the consultation on it, Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator of Children’s Food Campaign, said:

“We’re extremely pleased that cooking and food education have been given due prominence within the draft Design and Technology programme of study.  The Department for Education has heeded some of the concerns of medical professionals, health campaigners and chefs worried about children not learning these vital skills.”

“There's much to be positive about in the consultation document, including the specific references to practical cooking skills in the work plan for Key Stages 2 and 3, and the emphasis on savoury dishes rather than desserts and treats.”

“However, you can’t do cooking without the facilities.  Rather than invest in teaching kitchens or at least incentivise schools to provide suitable equipment and resources, the DfE weakly state that practical cooking skills are to be taught ‘where possible’. This get-out clause undermines the whole programme of study, and is a step back from previous commitments to ensure all schools were fully equipped for teaching cooking.”

“The Secretary of State for Education should be looking to copy Scotland's good example, of putting health and wellbeing – including practical cooking skills – at the heart of the curriculum. Instead, there is a danger that, because it is only part of an 'other foundation subject', cooking and food education could easily get squeezed out of the new school timetable. Furthermore, food growing is downplayed in the new curriculum and its connections with cooking and nutrition seem barely recognised. Also, the proposed changes to Key Stage 4 mean there is almost no scope for advancing the cooking skills of children after the age of 14.  We believe this is a significant missed opportunity to develop young people's menu of dishes and food education at a time when they are closest to having to living independently.”

“We'll be feeding these points into the consultation process and encouraging others to do so too.”


The National Curriculum announcement and consultation documents can be viewed on the DfE website


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Published 8 Feb 2013

Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

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