Following on from our previous blog which reported that education secretary Michael Gove has argued for longer school hours and shorter holidays, partly to level the playing field with our global competitors, we take a look at the system in Finland. It’s one of the highest-ranked countries for education, but pupils study for some of the fewest hours in the developed world. So what else works for the Finns?
The Education Secretary wants the school day to be lengthened and holidays shortened, but a senior MP has said that the time politicians spend in the House of Commons appears to be shrinking!
Thousands of teachers have signed a petition condemning the Education Secretary’s reformed curriculum. Meanwhile the former head of the national curriculum has told politicians to stop meddling in school policy.
As Secretary of State for Education and Science in the 1970s, the Iron Lady earned the nickname ‘Thatcher the milk snatcher’ when she stopped free school milk. Her current successor Michael Gove is a disciple of her policies.
For the first time ever, all secondary school pupils will have cookery lessons, thanks to the campaign against poor school food originally started by TV chef Jamie Oliver. The practicalities of implementing the scheme will be challenging for schools. More cookery classes will mean new facilities and equipment, and additional food technology teachers will need to be trained and recruited.
Michael Gove has announced that learning about food will be compulsory for Key Stage 3 pupils as part of the reformed national curriculum from next September; previously only primary schools had to give basic lessons about food preparation and hygiene. He wants every 14 year-old to be able to cook 20 healthy recipes, understand the importance of nutrition and feel confident about cooking techniques.
Rob Rees, chef and chair of the Children’s Food Trust who welcomed the move gave Eteach a statement:
“What we see every day in our work is that learning to cook has a real impact on what children eat, and how they understand good food. Cooking also brings education alive for children; its versatility to deliver most subjects in the curriculum makes it unique. We should praise and support cookery and food teachers in schools, who are busting a gut to do the right thing for our children day after day.”
The recommendations were in a report from restaurant owners Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, founders of the Leon chain, who were commissioned by the Education Secretary to develop Jamie Oliver’s campaign for better school meals last year. Their report also recommends that packed school lunches should be banned to improve pupils’ diets and combat obesity. The saving – of £2 billion per year – should be invested into school canteens to provide better meals. And if the government refuses to ban packed lunches, they want schools to police what parents put in them and confiscate unhealthy items.
If you’re interested in teaching food technology, visit http://www.eteach.com/food-technology-teaching-jobs for all the latest vacancies.