Five Northumberland schools among first to start Rethink Food digital teaching programme

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A non-profit group has begun working with five schools in Northumberland to help pupils make healthy and sustainable food choices.

Rethink Food is working with Bishop’s Primary School in Ashington, James Calvert Spence College in Amble, Red Row First School, Choppington First School, and Cambois First School as part of its new digital learning programme.

The UK community interest company, which is based in Leeds, first piloted the learning materials, which are designed by teachers, last year as part of a project with The Greggs Foundation, which these five schools also participated in.

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Nathan Atkinson, co-founder of Rethink Food, said: “We need to focus people’s attention on the issue of food education and I am thrilled that these schools in Northumberland are first in line.

Kevin MacKay and Nathan Atkinson of Rethink Food. (Photo by Rethink Food)Kevin MacKay and Nathan Atkinson of Rethink Food. (Photo by Rethink Food)
Kevin MacKay and Nathan Atkinson of Rethink Food. (Photo by Rethink Food)

"We firmly believe that giving children the tools to understand the importance of healthy eating and physical activity can make a positive difference to the health and well-being of young people, now and in the future.”

Currently food education is not a formal part of the curriculum, which Rethink Food is campaigning to change.

They hope that by teaching children about food sustainability in their early years it will help break the circular pattern of issues such as hunger, behaviour, obesity, and tooth decay that stem from food.

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Clare Marriot, headteacher at Bishop’s Primary School, said: “The Rethink Food programme is seen as a part of their weekly school timetable. It is integrated into lessons to provide inquiry-based learning with the children.

"As a result, we have seen behavioural changes through the daily application of the content they have learnt.

"This is clear through small changes such as saving paper, turning off light switches, and ensuring paint is not wasted.

"These gentle steps of mindfulness around waste and recycling and engaging with their class teacher minimises the doom and gloom of learning about the climate, but also highlights the importance of long-term messages to create educational change for young people.”

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Bishop’s Primary School has delivered 2,673 hours of Rethink Food learning materials since September 2022.

Schools, of which there are already 160 in the North East, can download teaching materials at to begin a free trial.