Date Published: 5 February 2007

BHF claims Return of cookery classes to give *Food Independence*

Healthy Eating Campaign

New UK Government plans to bring back compulsory cooking skills in schools have the potential to give food independence back to a lost generation of English children, the British Heart Foundation said today.


The pledge by the Secretary of State for Education, Alan Johnson, follows calls made by the BHF during its high profile Food4Thought campaign last September. The campaign, led by a poster advert showing a girl ?drinking”a litre of cooking oil, demanded that cooking skills be made compulsory in all schools, in a bid to put children back in touch with the food they eat.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) is today (Monday) launching a consultation on the 12-14 school curriculum for September 2008, and Mr Johnson has stressed he wants to see cooking skills added.

Welcoming Mr Johnson's intervention, BHF chief executive, Peter Hollins, said:

? For too long British children have grown up without being taught even basic cooking skills, and have been sent into a world in which eating healthily is not easy.

_ We need to stop further generations of children losing their food independence, so that they are armed with the skills to prepare healthy meals if they wish, rather than rely on processed and takeaway food for the rest of their lives.

_ We're delighted the Government wants to put these skills back into the classroom. It is clear the ?will' is there, but ministers now need to focus on the ?way' ? by ensuring cash is invested in the hundreds of schools which have seen their cooking facilities removed over recent years.?

 

The BHF will make its thoughts on the content of the school curriculum clear to the QCA, and is also calling on the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales to ensure all children within their borders have the same opportunity to learn this basic life skill.

A survey for the BHF's Food4Thought campaign last year revealed that 99% of today's technological whizz-kids can confidently use a DVD player but only 43% can boil an egg. The survey of 8 to 15 year-old children also showed that while 82% are confident using a microwave and over two-thirds confident cooking a ready meal, only 29% are at ease with a simple frying pan and just 58% with a humble vegetable peeler.

 

Source: British Heart Foundation (BHF).

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