Through a series of workshops facilitated over the last few months, the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC) has upskilled almost 60 Food and Nutrition teachers on the benefits of cooking Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured (NIFQA) beef and lamb in the classroom.

The aim of the workshops, hosted in conjunction with the Food Teachers’ Centre (FTC) with red meat supplied by ABP Food Group, was to help develop the skills and confidence of Food and Nutrition teachers when working with NIFQA beef and lamb.

During the workshops, teachers cooked a number of NIFQA beef and lamb recipes relevant for all key stages but particularly focused on the GCSE and A Level curriculum. Teachers were also given the chance to learn more about the NIFQA scheme as well as the nutritional value of incorporating beef and lamb as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

“We do a lot of work in post-primary schools through the provision of 350 demonstrations each year to educate pupils about the importance of NIFQA beef and lamb but it’s just as vital to support the application of learning by teachers who are engaging with pupils,” said Lauren Hyde, LMC’s Education and Consumer Promotions Manager.

“Teachers who attended the workshops learned how to prepare, handle and cook with NIFQA beef and lamb as well as how to present dishes attractively. They also learned about the nutritional value of beef and lamb and the role of the NIFQA scheme in producing sustainable, traceable, high quality produce. Provenance and quality assurance are an integral part of the Food and Nutrition curriculum, and with the NIFQA scheme having a place on the syllabus, we want to ensure that teachers have the skills and information available to teach these modules.

“Over the duration of the workshops, almost 60 teachers from across Northern Ireland attended and the feedback received was extremely positive. We’re delighted to be able to offer these services to teachers and pupils alike and there will hopefully be many more workshops delivered in the future.”

Elsewhere, Judith Finlayson, head of home economics at Killicomaine Junior High School added: “We were so pleased to welcome LMC and FTC to our school earlier this month.

“The workshops are invaluable in terms of upskilling our teachers which in turn will have a positive impact on the learning of our pupils.

“Attending the workshop has developed my own confidence when working with NIFQA beef and lamb and I’m sure many other teachers will say the same. I now have the skills I need to teach my pupils how to prepare and cook NIFQA beef and lamb in an engaging, creative and cost effective manner.”