Monday, 4 March 2013

Food in the National Curriculum

PKL Sales and Marketing Director Lee Vines guest blogs today on the addition of food teaching to the National Curriculum.

I was delighted to see the recent news that food and cookery are being added into the National Curriculum as a requirement for all pupils up to the age of 14. At PKL, good nutrition and health education for young people is something we are passionate about, and we actively support the work of the Children’s Food Trust, as well as having worked with a large number of schools over the past few years to provide catering facility solutions.

Nutrition, diet and cooking skills are vital in order for young people to grow up with healthy eating habits and the knowledge to make the right food choices. Hopefully this change in the National Curriculum will support and reinforce all the great work that’s been taking place on school meals over the past few years, and help bring about a positive change in young people’s attitudes towards food. This two-pronged approach of both eating well at school and learning how to cook healthily should be a really positive step forward.

One of the key things we need to tackle now is the state of kitchen facilities in schools, including both catering kitchens for providing school meals, and teaching kitchens for use by pupils in lessons. From our extensive experience of working with schools, I know that many schools are still struggling with old, inadequate facilities and equipment, and that these issues can often seem insurmountable in the face of tight budgets, limited space and lack of information and guidance.

I think it’s important for schools and local authorities to know that there are companies out there who can help them. For example, our permanent modular kitchen and servery buildings – KitchenPods and Food Cubes – have been the ideal solution for over 100 schools across the country, providing a quick, high-quality alternative to traditional construction at a fraction of the cost. We are also able to advise on the various funding streams available for procuring these facilities, and can even help out with funding applications.

In light of the changes to the National Curriculum, our VegPods may be the ideal solution for many schools too, providing a unique teaching kitchen where pupils can grow and cook their own vegetables. These modular teaching kitchens can be built to each school’s exact requirements in terms of size, equipment and external appearance, and include an enclosed courtyard with a raised bed for growing vegetables or herbs. They can also be used to build links with the local community, as well as create a valuable extra revenue stream, by being let out to local community groups.

I know that for many people and organisations, this recent news comes as a result of years of hard work and tireless campaigning, so let’s help and support schools as they rise to the challenge and embrace the valuable link between education and healthy eating.

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