Healthy future in home economics

10th November 2006 at 00:00
Ann Floyd (home economics teacher) depute headteacher St Margaret Mary's Secondary Glasgow

It was with great angst that I read your recent leading article, "Home economics is starved of teachers" (TESS, September 15), although I had a sense that this had been looming on the horizon for some time.

Home economics, almost like no other secondary school subject, has been hostage to the fortune of modernisation. As it deals with technology and lifestyle choices, it requires continual update of its content.

Unfortunately, this has required a need to change of title (domestic science to home economics to applied consumer studies), which may have been its undoing. Few teachers are being trained in home economics, and it will be a tragedy for our schools, young people and future generations if something is not done soon.

Recent school modernisation programmes have created many fabulously equipped, state-of-the-art home economics classrooms, but their future is bleak.

While government policies stipulate, rightly, that more physical education should be taught, physical health is only one part of the equation. Proper nutrition and healthy cooking are essential, especially in a nation where rates of obesity and dietary related illness are soaring.

We are doing our young people a disservice by expecting other means of improving their diets. The Hungry for Success initiative falls short of real action, sound though its philosophy may be. And parents are not changing young people's eating either.

Home economics is an excellent combination of science, technology and creativeaesthetic skills, and combines many learning activities and methodologies. It is the key to the health of future generations.

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