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.

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 Jenna Madden, Programme Manager, Business in the Community Northern Ireland, to tell us about her experience with the resource so far.

teacher and student

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

I work primarily with young people aged 16-21 who are care leavers or are still within the care system. I have previously delivered healthy eating sessions to groups of NEET’s. However, I have always had to design my own resources. It is great now that there are easy-to-use and age appropriate resources available; all in one place and in a range of topics.

How do you feel the resource might have improved students awareness of healthy eating physical activity?

I noticed that a number of the young people on the Aiming Higher programme consumed a lot of sugar! Between carbonated drinks, sweets and energy drinks the consumption was affecting their behaviour and their alertness during the day. I used the “Check the Label” resource along with a good few sugar cubes to begin to educate the young people on just how much sugar they were consuming in a day!!

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

The resource along with the visual of the sugar cubes certainly got them thinking. I wouldn’t go as far as to day that they have drastically reduced their intake however one young person did come back to me a few weeks after and said she did think about how many cubes were in her energy drink and she doesn’t consume just quite as much as she did. Some young people were horrified by the amount of sugar in seemingly “healthy” drinks. For me using these resources are about beginning to “plant the seed”, giving young people the opportunity to make informed and educated decision for themselves regarding a healthy diet.

Is how you use the resource meeting any subjects/modules you run?

I delivered this session as a one off as part of an overall employability and personal development programme for young people as I identified an issue that needed to be addressed, and the resources allowed me to do that.

Find out more


Posted: 15/10/2015 15:01:20 by Jenna Madden
Filed under: Eatright, Resources

About Me

Avatar Image
Jenna Madden
Hi. My name is Jenna, and I am Programme Manager with Business in the Community Northern Ireland.