safefood and the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland recently launched, the first all-island website for teachers working with early school leavers. This free resource includes three modules of healthy eating, food safety and physical activity and energy balance.

launch party in the kitchen

We know from speaking with early school leavers that their diets and levels of physical activity are of real concern to them. was developed with the input of young people and their trainers and was piloted with them. Their input was vital as it helped shape the information on the website, how it is displayed to them and in an environment they’re familiar with. Learning about food is a lifelong skill and we hope this is something young people will bring with them. includes team and individual projects, online games, videos and posters as well as recipes. The programme complements nutrition related curriculum in early school leaver settings in a way that meets the specific nutrition needs of this group, taking the range of abilities, literary and attendance aspects into account.

We caught up with Dave Mulvaney, Catering Instructor at Crumlin Youthreach, to tell us about his experience with the resource so far.

What has been your experience of teaching the resource to early school leavers?

I have found that the resources are very easy to deliver at classroom level. The lesson plans have been included with the resources which saves me time in pre-class prep and the classroom activities that are included I use as plenaries in reinforce the learning at the end of each learning outcome.

eatright on a computerHow do you feel the resource might have improved students awareness of healthy eating physical activity?

Using the resource has helped the students realise the need to establish an active lifestyle early on in life and that they also need to develop healthy eating habits that they continue to practise later on in life.

Has using the resource helped students overcome any issues they might have had with food safety/physical activity?

In my opinion it’s not that the students have any issues with food safety or engaging with physical activity. I think that they have not been educated on the importance of both. Once engaged in learning about food safety I could see a change in how the students approached practical work in the kitchen and were more aware of the food safety procedures involving food preparation and storage. It was as if an awareness came over them that an unhygienic action in the kitchen could have a larger unwanted reaction at the dinner table. Once the students and staff had completed the "be active survey" they were shocked to see how little exercise/activities they participated in and as a result approached our centre co-ordinator with regard to including ore physical education on the timetable.

trainee chefs in the kitchen

Is how you use the resource meeting any subjects/modules you run in the Youthreach centre? For example, does it fit into any QQI modules?

I have been delivering QQI catering subjects at levels 3 and 4. I have integrated most of the resources available on into the programmes and managed to map the resources to specified learning outcomes within the catering modules and the maths modules. I have found that the resources cover some of the learning outcomes completely and add much needed supplementary information to others.

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Posted: 17/07/2015 09:04:25 by Dave Mulvaney
Filed under: Eatright, Resources

About Me

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Dave Mulvaney
Hi. My name is Dave, and I am a Catering Instructor at Crumlin Youthreach.