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Healthy learning at Merchiston Castle School

Case Study

Chartwells visited Merchiston Castle School, an all-boys school in Edinburgh, as part of its new health and wellbeing programme, Beyond the Chartwells Kitchen’s six-month trial. Fay Yeng, Chartwells food ambassador talks through the visit.

Early this year, I visited Merchiston Castle to deliver our Pitch for Health workshop, from the Fit Food module to around 50 of its year 9 set. Being 13 or 14 years old is an interesting time in terms of the way young people interact with food and their attitude to health, so I wanted to get the boys really thinking about the role that food plays in their life and how it could help or hinder them.

With a focus on the Healthier Food element of the initiative, I encouraged critical thinking around the way ‘healthy food’ is marketed. The session was split into two parts: the first focussed on the nutrition of the ingredients and a live demonstration of one of our super snack recipes. The students were challenged to customise their own snack, with careful consideration to include a balance of ingredients chosen for their health boosting properties. They then also had to consider the design of the product and a catchy strapline.

The second part of the session invited the teams to pitch their snack product to the group, further embedding learning as the boys used the benefits of the ingredients in their recipes, to sell their new product. It was great to see how they engaged with the task, working together to come up with some really clever, informative campaigns. While the aim is for them to leave the session inspired to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, these kind of activities also build skills such as teamwork and communication.

The feedback we received after the session, from both the teachers and pupils was very positive. The head of third form saw ‘real value’ in the session and is now using the online resources available in our Beyond the Chartwells Kitchen hub to build the sessions in to the school’s ‘Eat yourself happy’ programme, part of their personal social health education curriculum. I am really looking forward to returning to Merchiston to strengthen this positive collaboration.

Freddie Main, Head of Personal Social Health Education at Merchiston Castle School, said: “The Beyond the Chartwells Kitchen session brought benefit to our pupils, using an interactive style to really engage and support them in learning about healthy eating. This issue is so important, and we hope to continue supporting our children in living healthier lives, armed with information to help them make informed decisions. We look forward to welcoming the Chartwells team back on three occasions this academic year as they deliver a series of workshops.”

Merchiston Castle School