26th May 2021

The British Nutrition Foundation has launched a first-of-its-kind guide to support teachers in delivering food and nutrition education to pupils with additional needs: Characteristics of good practice in teaching food and nutrition education to pupils with additional needs’.

Catering for the needs of pupils with a wide range of disabilities – from Autism spectrum disorder, and social, emotional and mental health issues, to physical disabilities – the 76-page guide, which can be downloaded for free, is designed for all teachers who teach food and nutrition to pupils with additional needs, whether they are in a mainstream schools or special educational needs schools.

While the UK’s different curricula and qualifications set out what children should be taught about food and nutrition, there is no other specific guidance on teaching food and nutrition to pupils with additional needs.

The guide has been developed by the British Nutrition Foundation’s Education Team - a group of specialists with expertise in food education, teaching and nutrition science - through consensus-building exercises with primary and secondary school practitioners, awarding organisations, initial teacher training providers, and experts in supporting pupils with additional needs across the UK.

Frances Meek, Senior Education officer, British Nutrition Foundation, comments: “It is essential for all children and young people to have good education on food and nutrition, so that they are equipped with the necessary skills to cook and feed themselves well and keep healthy. Practical work, like cooking, develops fine, gross and sensory skills and it can also provide social experiences and opportunities for pupils to develop skills for independent living and the world of work, especially within catering and hospitality. Our new guide defines the characteristics of good practice that are specific to teaching food and nutrition to pupils with additional needs, therefore supporting school communities to make a meaningful difference to the inclusion and progress of all pupils.”

The British Nutrition Foundation has worked in collaboration with a range of professional educators to exemplify how the characteristics in the guide can be put into practice.

Laura Kelly, a food and nutrition teacher at St Columbanus’ College in Bangor, Northern Ireland, explains why it’s critical for staff to fully understand and plan for an individual pupil’s learning and teaching needs: “As teachers, one of our most important roles is to know each of the pupils in our care. For me, as a food and nutrition teacher, it is important to set subject specific targets based on a pupil’s needs and to implement strategies or make adjustments to ensure inclusion in lessons. For example, this could mean lowering workbenches for a pupil that uses a wheelchair or purchasing adapted equipment, such as knives with angled handles. Knowing my pupils means that I can plan tailored lessons and ensure that, no matter what the topic, my pupils can achieve their full potential. This new guide is an invaluable resource for teachers as it clearly sets out what we need to aim for in terms of best practice for supporting pupils with additional needs.”

The new guide for pupils with additional needs follows two existing guides developed by the British Nutrition Foundation to support primary and secondary teachers to become even better teachers of food and nutrition. Since they were published in 2019 and 2020, the two resources have received over 3,600 downloads and nearly 2,000 teachers have registered to complete online professional development courses based on the guides. Identifying a gap in provision, the British Nutrition Foundation has subsequently developed this third guide to increase access for children and young people with additional needs.

The British Nutrition Foundation is a registered charity that delivers impartial, authoritative and evidence-based information on food and nutrition. The charity has 30 years of experience in supporting food and nutrition education in UK schools, through the Food – a fact of life education programme. In the past year, over 560,000 teachers have used the British Nutrition Foundation’s dedicated school website, downloading over 1.5 million resources. 1,114 teachers have also attended virtual training, workshops, conferences and webinars, through Food – a fact of life this year

To download ‘Characteristics of good practice in teaching food and nutrition education to pupils with additional needs’, please visit: https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/professional-development/ppd-toolkit/

Free training for teachers of pupils with additional needs will take place during May and June 2021 and pupil resources will also be available later in the year. For more details please see: https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk/professional-development/ffl-training/


For further information, high resolution images or to request interviews please contact [email protected], 07818040144 

The British Nutrition Foundation would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the Savoy Educational Trust for the production of this guide.

Food – a fact of life (FFL) is a comprehensive, progressive education programme which communicates up-to-date, evidence-based, consistent and accurate messages around ‘food’ to all those involved in education. For more information go to https://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk

About the British Nutrition Foundation


Translating evidence-based nutrition science in engaging and actionable ways

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), a registered charity, delivers impartial, authoritative and evidence-based information on food and nutrition. Its core purpose is translating evidence-based nutrition science in engaging and actionable ways, working with an extensive network of contacts across academia, health care, education, communication and the food chain. A core strength of the Foundation is its governance structure (described in the Articles of Association), which comprises a Board of Trustees, Advisory Committee, Scientific Committee, Editorial Advisory Board, Education Working Groups and a Nominations Committee, on which serve senior/experienced individuals from many walks of life. The composition is deliberately weighted towards the scientific ‘academic’ community, based in universities and research institutes, and those from education, finance, media, communications and HR backgrounds.

BNF’s funding comes from: membership subscriptions; donations and project grants from food producers and manufacturers, retailers and food service companies; contracts with government departments; conferences, publications and training; overseas projects; funding from grant providing bodies, trusts and other charities. BNF is not a lobbying organisation nor does it endorse any products or engage in food advertising campaigns. More details about BNF’s work, funding and governance can be found at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/aboutbnf/whoweare.html.