Key Fact 5

Teachers' Guide

This is the main guide for Cooking and Food Skills for children aged 8-11 years.

Key Fact 1

Around the world people use a range of different ingredients, equipment and cooking techniques to prepare food.

Key Fact 2

When planning to cook we need to consider current healthy eating advice, the needs of different people and occasions.

Key Fact 3

When planning to cook, we need to select the most suitable ingredients, equipment and food skills for successful results.

Key Fact 4

There is a range of additional food skills which enable us to cook.

Key Fact 5

Buying, storing, preparing and cooking food safely and hygienically are vital for health.

Videos: Peel, chop and grate

See how to prepare fruit and vegetables safely.

Cool creations

Non-cook recipes for the primary school classroom.

Videos: Cool creations

See how to make some recipes that do not need any cooking!

Hot and happening

Recipes that involve the use of the grill or hob.

Videos: Hot and happening

See how to cook delicious hot meals.

Brilliant baking

Baking recipes for the primary classroom.

Videos: Brilliant baking

See how to bake a range of recipes.

Sensory work with food

Explore the senses.

FFL Podcast

The FFL podcast has been produced to provide teachers with news and information about food education in primary schools.

Key Fact 5: Buying, storing, preparing and cooking food safely and hygienically are vital for health.

a) To know that food can spoil and decay due to the action of microbes, insects and other pests.

Question the children:

  • Has anyone seen mouldy food before?
  • What was it?
  • What did it look like?

Explain to children that food can spoil and decay due to the action of micro-organisms (microbes), insects and other pests. Sometimes, it may be because of changes within the food itself. When food spoils, its appearance, taste, texture and odour change. It may become unsafe to eat.

Some food is perishable, like meat, fish and milk. Some food lasts longer, like flour, beans and canned fruit.

Use the Food spoilage PowerPoint 259 to introduce this concept to children. This will introduce children to the fact that:

  • food deteriorates over time;
  • micro-organisms can be carried by food, people, dirty equipment, animals and pests;
  • micro-organisms needs certain conditions to grow – this is why food needs to be properly stored;
  • food poisoning is caused by some of these micro-organisms (food poisoning bacteria);
  • the risk of poisoning can be minimised through simple food safety and hygiene procedures;
  • there are beneficial uses of some micro-organisms, e.g. in bread and yogurt making.

Using the Food spoilage SMART Board 260 activity, ask the children what happens to the different types of food when it spoils. Discuss what could be done to prevent spoilage.

b) To understand and use date marks and food storage instructions on food packaging.

Explain to children that food packaging displays information which can help people know when to eat the food and how to store it properly.

The two main features are:

  •  Date marks - ‘use by’ – these are used on perishable foods such as milk, cheese or ham and show the day/month – after this date the food is not safe to eat; and ‘best before’ – these are used on foods such as canned beans, dried fruit, breakfast cereals and frozen peas – after this date the food will probably be safe to eat, although may not taste as good;
  • Storage instructions – how to store the food correctly to keep it in good condition, e.g. keep refrigerated, frozen, or in a cool dry place.

Unpackaged foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, do not have date-marks or storage instructions. Talk to the children about how they would store these items and know when they are safe to eat, e.g. strawberries in a fridge, potatoes in a cool, dry and dark place.

Use the Food labels PowerPoint 260 to highlight how information is presented and how it can be used.

Use Storing food SMART Board 261 with the children to drag foods to the correct storage areas in a kitchen. Discuss reasons for this.

c) To demonstrate good personal hygiene when cooking.

Pose a series of questions to the children about good personal hygiene when cooking:

  • What should you do when you get ready to cook?
  • What is good personal hygiene?
  • Why is it important to wash hands?

The Personal hygiene PowerPoint 261 can be used with the children to recap this area of learning.

You could use the Let’s get ready to cook Poster 251 as a stimulus for discussion.

Use the Alisha gets ready to cook Cards 254 with the children to promote and embed good personal hygiene habits when cooking.

Ask the children to create their own ‘Get ready to cook checklist’ (you could use the Get ready to cook checklist Worksheet 256 as a writing frame). This should indicate all the personal hygiene checks they will take when cooking. Ensure that children use this checklist when they undertake food preparation and cooking activities at school.

To understand that food can be purchased from a variety of sources; food labels provide information to the consumer.

Use the Food Shopping PowerPoint to highlight where food can be purchased. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.  Explain about the Red Tractor food assurance scheme and how it helps consumers make choices. Use the What does a label tell you? Interactive Whiteboard Activity to support.

d) To demonstrate good food safety and hygiene when cooking.

When cooking, it is important to ensure that good food safety and hygiene is being followed to avoid any accidents and minimise any risk of food poisoning.

Use the Food safety PowerPoint 262 to explain to children about how good food safety and hygiene is undertaken when cooking. This includes:

  • getting ready to cook (recap);
  • storing foods (recap);
  • avoiding cross-contamination;
  • heating and reheating safely;
  • waste, e.g. peelings;
  • cleaning and washing-up.

In small groups, or individually, use the Alisha cooks Cards 255 to pose food safety and hygiene questions. Children can either verbally feedback their answers, or complete the Alisha cooks Worksheet 257.


Recap with children:

  • Food can spoil and decay due to the action of microbes, insects and other pests.
  • Food needs to be stored properly and within its date mark.
  • Good personal hygiene is vital when cooking to avoid the risk of food poisoning.
  • Good food safety and hygiene is vital when cooking to avoid accidents and risk of food poisoning.

Further activities

Make a display of food packaging labels ranking them in order of how long they can be stored safely.


Downloadable resources