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70% of primary schools in Sheffield make commitment to healthy and sustainable food

Over 100 primary schools across Sheffield have started their Food for Life journey, making a commitment to embed a good food culture by serving healthy and sustainable food and teaching pupils where food comes from through growing, cooking and farming activities.

Food For Life has been working with primary schools across the country for the past 20 years, instilling a good food culture with fresh ingredients and food education through their pioneering awards scheme and high-level accreditation standards.

The programme in Sheffield is delivered in partnership with Eat Smart Sheffield – a Public Health initiative commissioned by Sheffield City Council and managed by Learn Sheffield. As part of their offer, 50 schools have received an Eat Smart Sheffield Small Grant to fund food-related activity whilst nearly 100 students from Sheffield Hallam University have held placements with them. Sheffield schools have also been supported with training, with over 150 teaching staff receiving sessions on how to deliver lessons on growing, cooking and sensory food education.

Marlcliffe Community Primary School have used their grant to run a cooking club every week for pupils who need more support. So far, the club have made soup, courgette muffins, carrot cake and bread.

Glen MacDonald, who runs the club, shared:

“We are making sure that a range of skills, equipment and methods are included and are trying to keep the focus on healthier eating. Children are visibly enjoying the sessions and some have been away and repeated recipes at home. They've also been spreading the word which has led to others asking if they can join in too!”

Talbot Specialist School used their grant to purchase an air fryer and two blenders. Teacher Holly Rea explains:

“This is helping to facilitate teaching food prep using kitchen equipment in lessons. The air fryer is a great tool for learning about how to help prepare healthy meals safely and conveniently, and the blenders are particularly great with our more sensory learners who can engage with cause-and-effect activities linked to food prep.”

Lisa Aldwin, Programme Manager for Eat Smart Sheffield, who works with schools in Sheffield to embed Food for Life, said:

“It has been amazing to see the number of schools that have engaged with us so far – reaching over 100 across the city feels like a milestone which we are proud of. The majority have enrolled with Food for Life and are working towards their Food for Life Award, and all can see the benefits of implementing a whole school approach to food and nutrition. We have delivered assemblies to hundreds of pupils and have worked with school staff at all levels including kitchen and catering staff – often the unsung heroes in school settings. We also work with parents and carers via our webinars and workshops to ensure our work has impact beyond the school gates.

We know that many people are struggling at the moment, but we also know how important food is for our physical and mental health and wellbeing.  By working with schools, their pupils, families and wider communities on all aspects of food including cooking, growing and farming activities, we believe we are doing our bit to make healthy, affordable food accessible to all.”