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According to the National Food Strategy report published in July 2021, the government should focus on establishing effective food education as part of the wider food system.

The report highlights how effective cooking and nutrition sessions play a key role in our food system and can contribute to the prevention of obesity and ill health in later life.

National guidelines

Department for Education (DfE) guidelines state that cooking and nutrition should be part of the Design and Technology curriculum. Key stage 1 to key stage 3 pupils should be taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating through their education.

Food teaching guidelines in primary and secondary schools offer a framework of knowledge and skills that is required of schools that teach children about food. 

Resources for schools 

Key resources are available that schools can use to teach cooking and nutrition effectively.  

Food - a fact of life

The Food - a fact of life programme offers free resources for teaching young people about food, cooking and healthy eating. This includes:

  • A dashboard to help with lesson planning
  • Free cooking curriculum resources for different age groups from 3 to 16, including pupils with additional needs
  • Lesson plans, presentations, videosactivity packs, guides and food cards
  • Whole school food resources, including policy templates 
  • Support for planning and setting up a growing club
  • Food life skills to help students learn about cooking while considering healthy eating, food hygiene and safety, and budgeting
  • Activities and resources to engage with parents and carers
  • Professional development tools, including virtual practical workshops for schools
  • Webinars on healthy eating topics including tackling food waste, sustainable diets and allergies

British Nutrition Foundation 

Reliable information on nutrition that is grounded in science is available from the British Nutrition Foundation charity. This includes:

  • Healthy Eating Week resource packs to help schools run the annual event. It takes place in the second week of June and resources can be adapted and used throughout the year
  • Looking at labels resources that help teach children how to read food labels and make healthy choices
  • The Eatwell Guide provides handy fact sheets for each food group and are a valuable classroom resource

School Food Matters

School Food Mattersis a charity campaigning for better access to sustainable healthy food during school time and quality food education. They are involved in many projects including:

Other resources

A range of other resources are also available from national organisations, including:

  • The Eating well recipe bookfor 5 to 18 year olds offers healthy recipes which can be shared with parents or used in cookery lessons 
  • Public Health England - School Zone provides curriculum-linked resources and inspiration to help you teach children about healthy eating and being active 
  • The NHS Food scanner app can help you find out if family favourites could be swapped for healthy alternatives
  • NHS Healthy recipes is a hubthat gives families tips for breakfasts, packed lunches, dinners and desserts 
  • BEAT is the UK’s eating disorder charity, that provides support to those who are suffering from eating disorders and their carers. They also provide resources and Schools Professionals Online Training

Updated: 08 February 2023

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