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All the right ingredients for a great Food Curriculum!

In the fast-paced world of 2024, it is so easy for food to be viewed as ‘fuel’ to propel us from one busy part of the day to the next. Unfortunately, this need for convenience can result in children’s understanding of how their meals arrive in front of them and their wider view on the importance of the quality of the food they consume being narrowed. 

With this in mind, at Totley Primary School, we are passionate about teaching children that food knowledge and cooking skills are vital components of growing up to become healthy and responsible adults. Our Food and Cooking curriculum instils a pro-food attitude in all children, teaches the most useful knowledge and understanding so children can make informed decisions about the food they choose and cook, and teaches the necessary skills so children can competently and confidently work with food to prepare balanced, nutritious, tasty and mainly savoury dishes – it’s not all about having our cake, and eating it!

In Reception, the focus is on which foods are associated with typical meals in the day, and cultural, religious and national events and celebrations. Children learn how to make smoothies, fruit kebabs and celebration biscuits alongside the culinary skills of slicing, skewering, cutting and rolling.

As children move up through the school, this foundation is built on. In Y2, for example, children learn about seasons and seasonality in food through making cheese and vegetable-filled omelette pockets – cubing, grating, whisking, measuring, peeling, snipping and slicing – before using the hob safely.

By the time children are in Upper KS2, things really ramp up as they are taught to make comparisons between traditional and modern British cuisine, and understand the reasons for the changing influences in British food. In recent weeks, the mouth-watering aromas of slow-cooked scouse stew and Caribbean lamb curry (goat is hard to source!) have wafted down the corridors alongside traditional Victoria Sponge cakes and ‘wartime’ fruitcakes which developed children’s understanding of how recipes needed to be adapted for the availability of ingredients. Browning, folding, pureeing, glazing and simmering have been just a few of the new culinary skills taught.

Having conducted extensive sampling of the children’s work (!) I can conclude that the future of the nation’s food quality is in very safe hands!!