Publication - Research publication

Evaluation of the Food Education Programme (2012-2015)

Published: 23 Mar 2016

Report evaluating how all nine projects have contributed to the programme’s overall outcomes.

119 page PDF

1.8 MB

119 page PDF

1.8 MB

Evaluation of the Food Education Programme (2012-2015)
Annex 5: Futures in Food - Scottish Food and Drink Federation

119 page PDF

1.8 MB

Annex 5: Futures in Food - Scottish Food and Drink Federation

Background to the project

324. This section provides background information to the Futures in Food project run by Scottish Food and Drink Federation.

Project description

325. From 2009 to 2012 funding from both the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland was awarded to the Scottish Food and Drink Federation ( SFDF) to develop and roll out a national programme entitled 'Futures in Food'. The programme was very successful and was extended to run during 2012-15.

326. A national coordinator from SFDF worked with schools, industry and a wide variety of other stakeholders to facilitate partnerships between schools and industry to achieve the overall aims of the programme.

327. The programme was designed to inspire school pupils and help them to make the connection between the food on their plates; what they are learning in school; skills and qualifications in further education and higher education that are of relevance to the food and drink industry and employment in the food and drink industry.

328. The target group was school children of all ages, teachers and the food and drink industry.

329. During 2012-15, the project collaborated with a range of delivery partners including: Eco Schools, Crofting Connections, Royal Highland Education Trust ( RHET), and Scottish Council for Development and Industry ( SCDI), Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network ( STEMNET), Institute of Food Science and Technology ( IFST) and local authorities.

Project aims and outcomes

330. The overall aim of Futures in Food was to:

inspire school pupils and help them to make the connection between the food on their plates; what they are learning in school; skills and qualifications in further education and higher education that are of relevance to the food and drink industry and employment in the food and drink manufacturing industry.

331. Specifically, the objectives of the project were to:

  • Increase awareness of the food and drink industry as a career destination
  • Help pupils and teachers to understand the relevance of a number of subjects to careers in food and drink, in particular the relevance of science and technology subjects
  • Improve perceptions of the food industry
  • Increase awareness of the diversity of the food and drink industry and its effect on the national and local economy
  • Demonstrate the relevance of the food and drink industry across Curriculum for Excellence
  • Increase uptake of food and drink courses in higher and further education
  • Increase the level of on-going engagement between industry and education


332. During financial years 2012-15, Scottish Government provided a total of £270,000 in funding - £90,000 in each financial year.

Progress on project delivery

333. Progress on project delivery, was assessed using information gathered from various data provided, which included:

  • Individual projects' progress against targets set by the Scottish Government
  • Individual projects' achievement of project aims
  • Feedback on challenges faced
  • Feedback from the target populations on successful delivery and satisfaction
  • Identification of characteristics/features of successful projects

Attainment of Scottish Government targets

334. Futures in Food progressed well over time, and according to their reports most of the targets were met. The table that follows shows year on year progress.

Table 21: Futures in Food progress towards achieving targets

Target Progress Status
Targets Year 1
Establish one local higher Education/Industry/School Partnership delivering a food programme to support the curriculum Staff and students from University of Abertay working with The Morgan Academy and Scotherbs partnership Achieved
Work with the University of Highlands and Island to develop and deliver an NPA in Food Technology The NPA was added to the SQA qualification in August 2012 Achieved
Work with Western Isles to support and deliver qualification in Local Food Production SQA approved the development of this qualification in February 2013 Achieved
Develop a promotional plan and resources on the SFDF website to increase awareness and encourage participation
Identify further partners Further partners have been identified including among others: Primary Engineer, ASSIST, Local Authorities, Career Academy, Glasgow Science Festival Achieved
Targets Year 2
Establish a minimum of five multi-partner, local partnership cluster approaches Ten new partnerships in place Exceeded
Completion of two further Higher Education/Industry/Schools partnerships Partnerships created and working with a minimum of four schools Achieved
Develop two toolkits to support delivery Continuous development On going
Establish two inter-school competitions Three inter-school competitions held Exceeded
Targets Year 3
Identify a minimum of five multi-partner, local partnership cluster approaches Five new partnerships in place Achieved
Develop legacy materials to ensure models can be replicated and sustained Various resources created Achieved
Four further schools to update partnerships with industry Three partnerships achieved Partially
Establish three further food chain clusters Achieved Achieved
Completion of two further/higher education/industry/school partnerships Due to nature of academic years the qualifications can't be taken until 2015. But partnerships were established On going

335. Beyond the progress recorded towards achieving the project targets, additional activities took place to further develop food related qualifications and promote the service/project:

  • Food Manufacture Skills for Work ( SFW) Qualification - SFDF was a member of the qualification design team developing a SFW Qualification to further extend the range of qualifications available to provide articulation and progression into and across the food and drink industry.
  • The project engaged actively with careers events like the National Skills Scotland Events and Careers evenings in schools
  • Innovative Learning Week ( ILW) for students at Edinburgh University: 10 student teachers took part to illustrate how food education can be used to deliver the curriculum
  • New BSc Applied Science - the SFDF coordinator was a member of the Advisory Group for the development of a new BSc Applied Science developed by the University of the Highlands & Islands
  • Scotland's College Network - the project worked with Scotland's College Network ( SCN) to establish a partnership and link to the food education sector that could support the schools programme
  • Furthermore, SFDF promoted the Futures in Food project through various major events such as the 'Dundee Food and Flower Festival', 'Big Bang - Glasgow' or 'Teachmeet Food and Science'

336. SFDF via Futures in Food participated in a wide range of activities, not only ensuring that further partnerships were created between schools and the food and drink industry, but also supplying teachers with various resources and CPD events.

Achievement of project aims

337. Objective #1: Increased awareness of the food and drink industry as a career destination of choice. One main focus of the project was around making sure that young people saw the food and drink industry as a plausible career choice. From feedback responses collected by the project, nearly 2 in 5 students from secondary schools said that they would consider working in the food and drink industry.

338. Objective #2: Help pupils and their teachers to understand the relevance of a number of subjects to careers in food and drink. The Futures in Food project was acknowledged by teachers as a good tool for delivering CfE and aiding interdisciplinary learning. From feedback forms collected from students as well as verbal anecdotal feedback, it appeared that many students were positively surprised at the range of disciplines available in the food and drink industry.

339. Objective #3: Inspire school children to make connections between the food on their plates and what they are learning in schools to employment in the food and drink industry. Only anecdotal evidence was provided by the project, but visits to farms and factories seemed to have been the route mainly used to engage with students on this. Since 2012, over 1,200 opportunities were created for pupils to visit farms/industry.

340. Objective #4: Improved p erceptions of the food industry. There was no quantifiable evidence to support progress towards this objective.

341. Objective #5: Awareness has increased of the diversity of the food and drink industry and its effect on the national and local economy. There was no quantifiable evidence to support progress towards this objective.

342. Overall and where data is available, the project appeared to have made good progress towards achieving its aims.


343. Throughout the life of the programme some key challenges have been identified, namely:

  • Staff changes and workload in schools
  • Teacher understanding and awareness of food varies
  • The size of the department is influential
  • Managing expectations between schools and industry

344. To counteract these challenges, SFDF created a plethora of resources which were continuously updated. In order to get schools/teachers on board, SFDF provided tailored support to schools and developed standardised forms. As a result, schools were then more likely to find business links directly. Using Food Ambassadors for message delivery and support also helped to raise the confidence of teachers.

Feedback from target populations

345. As reported by the project coordinator, the reception of the project in schools was very positive. ' A lot of schools approach [me/project coordinator] and they say we've heard about your project and we'd like to get involved could you come and speak to us about'.

346. The coordinator's view was supported by feedback collected from teachers. Among those teachers who responded with feedback, their experience was very positive [17] . The vast majority agreed year on year that they enjoyed taking part in the project, would be willing to participate again and that using food was an excellent means of delivering CfE. For example, some of the comments made by teachers about Futures in Food are shown below:

  • ' Many of the pupils did not know just how many different opportunities are available in the industry'.
  • ' Patterson provided the pupils with a unique opportunity to work alongside a functioning business'.

347. Feedback collected by SFDF around the range of resources available was also very positive. Schools and teachers appeared to recognise the value of having industry input and time and expertise from industry professionals. Resources and ideas developed by other schools and industry partnerships were most welcomed by schools.

348. From the pupils' perspective, the project was on the whole positively received. The project coordinator reported that the pupils found the project fun and were inspired by the range of different subjects that are necessary within the food and drink industry such as science. In terms of life skills they learned to work with other people and share decisions together. Visits and hands-on tasks appeared to be the most popular activities for pupils helping to make the connection between the food in their plate and from where it comes from.

  • ' During one visit a girl lived across the road from the factory and didn't even know it was there because it has such small signage and it's quite hidden on this industrial estate and then she said I screamed when I walked down a supermarket shelf and I saw the product and said that's made in Coatbridge! There it is on Tesco's shelves. So it's just that kind of awareness [18] '.

349. Overall, Futures in Food received very positive feedback from teachers, schools, and pupils. In particular, the range of activities provided, the resources available and the linkage with industry were highly valued.

Key features of success

350. Futures in Food appeared to be a successful project in developing and strengthening the relationship between schools and industry. In fact, the project recorded a high level of business engagement and retention rates from industry.

351. The project used a variety of promotional tools, by taking part in major events, collaborating with various other food education partners and using a range of PR tools such as articles in the Scotsman, Holyrood Magazine, tweets and press releases.

352. The wide range of resources created which were constantly updated, were also welcomed and widely used. Data collected from the schools pages of the SFDF website indicated a steady increase in visits to the site. The highest visit rate was recorded during August 2014 with 1,400 visit in one month.

Progress on Programme Outcomes

353. This section focuses on the impact that Futures in Food has had on the wider FEP outcomes of Opportunities, Embeddedness, Investment and Learning and Behaviour Change. Each outcome is discussed in turn.


354. Since 2012, over 7,500 pupils participated in food related activities through Futures in Food developing direct partnerships between schools and industry.

355. Furthermore, there were over 1,500 pupil visits to industry, of which 450 visits took place during 2014-15 alone. Additional opportunities were developed to interact with pupils through career events or Skills Scotland events.

356. Through its various routes, i.e. direct project related activities, career events and Skills Scotland events, the project created over 37,700 pupil opportunities to learn about food since 2012. Including the pilot years, this figure rose to 40,200 pupil opportunities created.

357. Futures in Food is one of the few projects that focuses on secondary schools. Each year, the number of schools engaged by the project ranged between 18 and 28 secondary schools.

358. The drop in number of school and pupil opportunities recorded during Year 3 was partly due to the reporting timeframe, as data only included part of the school year (until March 2015), and partly due to budget cuts which saw many posts across several local authorities (that helped facilitate the project's activities and provide access to schools) being cut and not replaced.

359. The table below summarises key metrics for the project over time.

Table 22: Futures in Food Opportunities created over time

Year 1
Year 2 2013-14 Year 3
Total number of schools 15+ 19 34+ 49 33
- of which primaries no data 21 21 9
- of which secondaries no data 18 28 24
Number of new schools 15 10 27 13 7
Pupil Opportunities
… through FiF direct project 1,075 1,385 1,785 3,304 2,451
…through career events - - 1,200 3,000 3,500
…through Skills Scotland Events - - 3,500 9,500 9,500

360. The geographical coverage of the project was mainly in the Central Belt and in particular around the west side of Glasgow and its surrounding areas. The map below shows the geographical spread of Futures in Food over time.

Image 6: Futures in Food geographical coverage over time



361. The following indicators were identified as appropriate to measure progress towards the Embeddedness outcome:

  • Number and range of food education CPD events
  • Number of teachers attending CPD events regarding food
  • Feedback from CPD (or other events)indicating positive impacts on learning, enthusiasm and confidence
  • Resources - range, availability and feedback on use

362. Futures in Food was very active in delivering against this outcome. It interacted with teachers through major events such as Teachmeet, Education Scotland conferences, various career events or the Dundee Science Festival. The project reached somewhere between 120 and 200 teachers each year.

363. Feedback forms were distributed at these events. Overall, teachers reported a high level of satisfaction with not only the organisation but also the content of the events provided. Data could not be aggregated as feedback forms varied in content and style. However, the feedback received from the two Teachmeet events in Glasgow during 2014 provided a good example and mirrored the experiences from other events organised by SFDF. Main findings collected from the feedback forms completed by teachers are summarised below:

  • Teachers were generally satisfied with the training sessions, rating them on average as 8 (on a scale from 1 poor to 10 excellent).
  • This translated into high levels of intended recommendations - all teachers who responded to the survey would recommend the session to a colleague.
  • The vast majority said the session increased their knowledge in food education (96%) and all felt that the session increased their confidence in using food as a learning resource.
  • In fact, 97% said that the session encouraged them to use food as a learning resource (97%)
  • Aspects of the events that most teachers found useful were: updates on the Scottish Qualification Authority, the marketplace, STEM ambassador availability and interdisciplinary learning ideas.

364. Since the project started, SFDF committed strongly to improving resources and sharing their knowledge across industry and schools. Data collected from the schools pages of the SFDF website indicated a steady increase in hits to the site. Overall, there had been over 27,000 downloads of materials and other resources from the site [19] .

365. These figures demonstrate a real appetite from teachers for sources of information and guidance as to how to deliver food and drink related curriculum activities, particularly as the numbers of site visits correlate with the introduction and implementation of CfE. In particular there appeared to be an appetite for specific careers information, film resource, PowerPoint presentations and science materials.


366. Another outcome of the programme was in regards to the level of investment generated from industry. The core objective of the Futures in Food project is to encourage and develop industry links with education establishments. As such, Futures in Food has positively influence this outcome for the overall programme.

367. From Year 1, industry investment in Futures in Food exceeded Scottish Government funding. During Year 3 along (2014-15) an estimated £290,000 of in-kind investment was allocated to the Future in Food project. This consisted of contributions from partners and industry, including time, materials, equipment, ingredients and products, provision of accommodation and hospitality for events and meetings stand space site visits, prizes and trophies. Financial contributions over time are shown in the table below:

Table 23: Futures in Food financial contributions over time

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Scottish Government funding £90,000 £90,000 £90,000
In-kind investment from industry and other external partners £200,000 £300,000 £290,000

368. Furthermore, new businesses were recruited year on year and the number of partnerships created rose continuously. At the same time the number of businesses discontinued from the project was only minimal each year. Details are shown in the table below.

Table 24: Futures in Food business engagement over time

Year 1
Year 2 2013-14 Year 3
Number of new businesses engaged in project 13 6 9 8 8
Number of businesses discontinued from previous year n/a 5 2 1 5
Total number of businesses in partnership with schools 13 14 20 29 34
Number of partnerships established 12 14 21 25 28

369. Over the years, Futures in Food has managed to establish itself as one of the key contributors to industry investment. The project appeared to have worked firmly at creating and maintaining sustainable links between schools and industry. The level of in-kind investment was also very high surpassing Scottish Government funding each year.

Learning and Behaviour Change

370. SFDF assessed the impact of Futures in Food on learning and behaviour since the project started. Pupils taking part in the project were asked to complete a questionnaire. Response rates varied over time with around a third of students participating each year. As a result of the very low response rates, results fluctuated vastly. Hence, this data should be treated with extreme caution.

371. Bearing that in mind, results suggested that the project made a positive contribution towards learning and behaviour change.

372. Data from surveys collected suggested that taking part in the project changed pupils' views of the food and drink industry, although this was more likely to be the case for primary than for secondary pupils.

373. As a result of their involvement in the Futures in Food project, nearly 2 in 5 respondents from secondary schools would consider working in the Food and Drink industry. Further details of the results is shown in the table below:

Table 25: Futures in Food feedback from students

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Primary schools:
Changed their thinking of the F&D industry 51 77 100
Would now consider working in the industry 59 48 100
Changed their thinking of the F&D industry 50 45 44
Would now consider working in the industry 27 39 39


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