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Good Food Champions lay foundations for Scotland’s food and drink future

  • Food and drink partners launch new online learning zone for food and STEM education
  • Initiative also aims to help to fill food and drink sector skills gap in STEM and technology

A new online teacher training resource for Scotland’s schools and colleges aims to boost Scotland’s knowledge of Good Food. It provides a suite of resources to empower educators to teach secondary pupils about food, STEM and sustainability.

Launching the new portal is the Good Food Champions partnership, involving four organisations supporting food and drink education, skills and careers:

  • Food and Drink Federation Scotland (FDF Scotland)
  • Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET)
  • Quality Meat Scotland (QMS)
  • The Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen

Education Scotland, the national body for supporting quality and improvement in learning and teaching, has funded development of the online teacher training programme.

Initiative has vital importance

The new training zone highlights for teachers the importance of food and nutrition, and how food education can go far beyond what we eat and cook. The training modules show that the way we produce food, the technologies we use, the waste we generate and the nutrition of the food we consume all have far-reaching implications for the planet. Modules support them to teach SQA units in Maths, Biology, Geography, Environmental Science, and Health and Food Technology, across levels from National 4 to Advanced Higher. Materials include presentations, quizzes, and online learning modules that provide career-long professional learning opportunities.

The resources also aim to show teachers the variety of career options in food and nutrition. Food, drink and farming is a £15 billion industry for Scotland, and a major export sector, employing around 120,000 people in roles that span STEM, finance, business, marketing, production, research and innovation. These provide a wide range of careers, progression routes and pathways for school leavers and graduates.

According to Moira Stalker, Skills Manager of FDF Scotland, “Scotland’s food and drink sector won great praise for its response to Covid, and it will be crucial to our economic recovery. We’ll need over 40,000 new recruits by 2029 to fill skills needs, especially in STEM and technical skills. With this new resource, we want to help schools and colleges raise understanding of the sector, enlist our future talent and innovators, and contribute to Scotland’s food future.”

Alix Ritchie, Education Manager at Quality Meat Scotland, explains, “When it comes to food, good education really can be life-changing. Teachers can play a positive role in helping children and their families understand what they’re eating, where it comes from, and why it matters. Our Good Food Champions learning zone gives teachers interesting and easily-accessible tools for doing this – they really could help pupils eat better, learn better and care for the planet better.”

Sara Smith, Learning and Development Co-ordinator at RHET, says, “As a fully digital resource, the new Good Food Champions portal is freely available to all and teachers can access and use it at any time. Further down the line, we’d also encourage teachers to look at other food and farming support from RHET and our partners in this initiative – from teacher training to talks and demonstrations and farm visits.”

And Julia Mitchell, Head of Knowledge Exchange, Impact and Communications at the Rowett Institute, adds, “Scotland has so much to be proud with its food and drink sector. We have excellent businesses, innovators and academic research, and a fantastic range of food and drink related courses at universities and colleges. The new learning zone is helping to highlight that, showing teachers and their pupils that we really have something to care about and take pride in. We hope as many as possible will make use of this new resource.”

Gayle Gorman, Chief Executive and HMI Chief Inspector of Education, at Education Scotland, concludes, “Scotland’s aspiration to be a Good Food Nation means people from every walk of life taking pride in, and benefiting from, the food they buy, serve and eat every day. We welcome The Good Food Champions initiative, and these new online learning resources to support the Government’s ambitions to be a Good Food Nation. By supporting educators to provide good food education, we make an important contribution to Scotland’s future wellbeing and prosperity.”

Access to the programme

Previous support from the Good Food Champions programme includes in-person CPD training and events for education professionals, showing them how food-related learning can support schools to deliver the curriculum. Teachers from the Central Belt to the northeast have taken part in the programme, praising its content and delivery. Changes they had implemented in response to the programme included outdoor learning, growing of food, and cooking and healthy eating topics.

The new online Food, STEM and Sustainability learning zone from the Good Food Champions initiative can be accessed by pre registration only at https://forms.gle/YiR6WSFZUhiRHFRm8

The Good Food Champions partners are also holding a series of webinars for educators through February and March on health and wellbeing; maths, big data and food; and food and climate. In addition to Good Food Champions resources, each of the partners also offer their own education, skills and careers initiatives.