UK govt makes cooking lessons compulsory in secondary schools

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London, Jan 22 (UNI) Cookery classes will be made compulsory in all British secondary schools for the first time, the government announced today.

The step is seen as an attempt to check chilhood obesity and comes as a part of the government's obesity strategy.

The new secondary curriculum strongly emphasises practical cooking skills, and will also include diet and nutrition, hygiene and safety and wise food shopping. Pupils will learn to cook a variety healthy meals, including a ''top 8'', officials said.

''Teaching kids to cook healthy meals is an important way school scan help produce healthy adults, '' the Daily Mirror quoted the Schools Secretary Ed Balls as saying.

Under the policy, students aged 11 to 14 will learn to cook for an hour a week for one term.

Currently around 85 per cent of secondary schools have cookery lessons but the new policy, requires all schools to be teaching the subject by 2011.

Cookery is currently compulsory in primary schools and ministers have already announced an entitlement for all pupils to learn cooking from September this year.

The Government began an overhaul of school dinners three years ago after TV chef Jamie Oliver campaigned against the poor quality ingredients being served in canteens.

A recent government study predicted that half the population could be obese within 25 years while experts believe one million children will be overweight in a decade.

UNI XC ARB RN1741

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