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  • 11 Feb 2014

    How will changes to the National Curriculum affect your child with food allergies?

    Posted: 11 Feb 2014

    (If you're here to answer my questionnaire, please scroll down for the questions!)

    Since I received the exciting news about the Wellcome Trust grant, my head has been bubbling with ideas for the online workshop for primary schools that I'm developing. As part of my research, I've been reading the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2.

    And can I just say at this point that I have every sympathy for teachers as they struggle to keep up with constant changes in educational policy. I've no idea when 'English' became 'Literacy,' and I applaud any teacher who is no longer 'teaching' but presenting children with 'learning outcomes'!

    And now back to the point...

    From September 2014, a new National Curriculum is being introduced, and there will be greater emphasis on food nutrition and practical cooking classes. Without boring you rigid, some of the 'learning outcomes' for the Design & Technology section of National Curriculum are that children can:

    Key Stage 1
    • Use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes
    • Understand where food comes from

    Key Stage 2
    • Understand and apply the principles of a healthy and varied diet
    • Prepare and cook a variety of predominantly savoury dishes using a range of cooking techniques
    • Understand seasonality, and know where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.

    Now, if you have a child with allergies, are you thinking what I'm thinking?

    Firstly, does the teacher understand enough about allergies and cross contamination to keep children safe during food prep and cooking? Secondly, will learning about food allergies be included in cooking lessons? Thirdly, is there a danger that children with allergies will simply be excluded from practical food prep because schools are too scared to include them?

    So as I mull those questions over, I wanted to pick your collective brain and find out how schools currently cope with food allergies and cooking lessons.

    Would you take a couple of minutes to answer the following questions? You can type your answers into the comments box, or email me at: hello@allergyadventures.com

    Thank you!

    Questions about cooking lessons, food allergies and schools
    1. How does your child's school currently manage cooking lessons and food allergies?
    2. Is your child fully included in the lessons?
    3. How satisfied are you that the teacher REALLY understands your child's allergy?
    4. What would you like the teacher to teach the class about food allergies? (This might include practical advice about substituting ingredients, symptoms of an allergic reaction, how to avoid contamination, etc.)
    5. Have you already been involved with 'teaching the teacher' about food allergies?
    6. How confident are you that the school can keep your child safe? Please give examples of any precautions the school has taken.

    Please share the link to this article on Facebook and Twitter, the more answers the merrier!

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