23 June 2011

Food on the timetable

Groundbreaking guidelines for partnership working between schools and food and drink organisations to help teach young people about where their food comes from were launched today.

Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson met school pupils at the Royal Highland Show to launch the guidelines for food and drink organisations and schools.

Mr Stevenson said:

"This is a fantastic initiative to help young people to learn about their food from plough to plate and sea to saucer, by supporting food and drink organisations to work in partnership with schools.

"These partnership guidelines aim to encourage pupils to make the connection between the food they eat and its environmental, health and social impact which we hope will help them to make healthier, sustainable food choices in the future.

"Scotland has a well-deserved reputation as a land of food and drink and it is vital that we continue to enhance this by engaging the next generation to make sure every child in Scotland has the chance to learn about the food they eat by 2015.

"I would encourage food and drink organisations to embrace this opportunity to work in partnership with our schools in line with the Curriculum for Excellence, to deliver a more personalised learning experience for every child."

The guidelines also aim to facilitate partnerships which highlight the varied career opportunities available in the food and drink industry and raise career aspirations of Scotland's children and young people.

Flora McLean, Director of the Scottish Food and Drink Federation, said:

"'Principles for Partnership' is a unique approach that will facilitate long lasting and meaningful relationships between schools and the food and drink industry. Through our national schools programme 'A Future in Food' manufacturers and schools work together to use the food industry as a context for learning whilst also promoting the industry as a career destination, we hope this will encourage more schools and companies to get involved."

This latest initiative builds on the good work so far to ensure that every child in Scotland should have the opportunity to learn about food and agriculture. Since the launch of the National Food and Drink Policy, more than 23,500 children across Scotland have learnt more about where their food comes from through various initiatives including the Eco-Schools launch of the food and environment topic and school farmers markets and farm visits hosted by the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET). The Eco-Schools project aims to reconnect children and young people with their food and the impact this has on the environment.

Trudi Togneri, Eco-Schools Co-ordinator Stirling High School, said:

"In order to make our crops accessible to the whole school we had consultations with staff and pupils which brought up many ideas for uses and curricular links. Classes in school planted maintained, grew, picked and ate the produce. Our first 'Grow It, Cook it, Eat It' was a huge success and supported by the whole school, staff, pupils and local community. After last years success we are now focusing on very traditional foods - good Scottish fare."

Alison Motion, Education Manager RHET, added:

"RHET are delighted to be involved in this initiative, and look forward to building and strengthening our current partnerships with schools and in the food sector."

The Principles for a Partnership Approach for the food and drink industry and other related organisations working with schools were developed by a food and drink education working group supported by the Scottish Government.

The Future in Food Project run by Scottish Food and Drink Federation and supported by the Scottish Government facilitates partnership between the food and drink industry and schools. The Scottish Government has invested £180,000 in this project. Working with schools and food manufacturers, the programme facilitates the creation and development of valuable educational partnerships that support a Curriculum for Excellence.

The Eco-Schools project has received £90,000 Scottish Government funding since 2009 to enable children and young people to get involved in food growing projects, sustainable picnics to help bridge the gap between food education and food on the school dinner plate.

The Royal Highland Education Trust has received £85,000 Scottish Government funding since 2009 to host schools farmers markets and enable children to visit farms, to help meet the commitment to children learning more about where their food comes from.

The Curriculum for Excellence is now being introduced across Scotland for all three to 18 year olds. It aims to raise standards of learning and teaching and equip children and young people with the skills they will need for a future in a fast changing world. Health and wellbeing within Curriculum for Excellence can provide a range of opportunities to stimulate interest and commitment to developing lifelong healthy eating habits. The Experiences and Outcomes ensure that learning through health and wellbeing will help learners to develop confidence, independence and positive attitudes.

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