The development of ‘Dish it Up’ as a resource for early school leavers

Last updated:
10 September 2014
The Food Safety Promotion Board, safefood, and the FSA in NI collaboratively funded the adaptation of the ‘Dish it Up’ resource. This is aimed at early school leavers across the island of Ireland.
Study duration: December 2012 to September 2013
Project code: FS411010
Contractor: Safefood


‘Dish it up’ is an interactive resource that delivers information about healthy eating and its related benefits. It is aimed at key stage 3 (10-13 year-olds). The existing resource has been a source of accurate information, especially for school teachers. However, the resource needed to be reviewed to reflect recent changes, such as the updated Eatwell plate, to ensure all advice is in line with current recommendations.
In order to be used as an ‘all island’ resource, it also needed to include the Republic of Ireland’s (ROI) food pyramid to take account of dietary guidelines in ROI. The updated and amended resource will also be used within transition year programmes in ROI and key stage 4 in NI. As the target audience is significantly different, and based on a preliminary independent review of the resource, the creative execution, navigation, type and volume of content needed to be reviewed.

FSA in NI in partnership with safefood (an all-island implementation body set up under the British-Irish Agreement with a general remit to promote awareness and knowledge of food safety and nutrition issues on the island of Ireland) worked closely together on this project. This joined up approach is promoted in 'A Fitter Future for All, Framework for Preventing and Addressing Overweight and Obesity in Northern Ireland, 2012-2022'. Feasibility work was carried out. The key challenge was to engage a disengaged target audience by creating a resource that is interesting to them and easy for the teachers or support staff to deliver.

Research Approach

The objective of the adapted resource was to equip the early school leaver with a number of food skills so that they can make informed and healthy food choices. The proposal was to adapt the content from the original ‘Dish it Up’ resource into a format that would meet the needs of early school leavers in a non-traditional learning environment.

Proposed process:

Format: As part of the concept phase, a review of existing resources, targeted at this group and outlined in the safefood early school leaver report, was carried out. It will be important to recognise the impact a ‘non-compliant’ non-traditional learning environment will have on the resource format. This identified the best media formats (posters, interactive games, quizzes, assisted and/or independent learning). The outcomes of the review built on the learning from the safefood¬funded early school leavers’ research, aiming to achieve a comprehensive overview of the learning environment and identify best practice. The format was agreed at the end of the review and consultation phase. Detailed recommendations and a project plan were then agreed.

Content: All content was agreed and finalised by FSA in NI and safefood prior to further creative development. A mock-up was produced for piloting.

Piloting: The mock-up was piloted with the teachers, tutors and young people in the centres, who were consulted at the earlier stages of the project. Consideration was also given to pilot the mock-up with centres which have no prior interaction with the project. The pilot implementation of the adapted resource was focused on ensuring that:

• it met the needs of the teachers and young people

• there were clear and achievable learning outcomes

• the resource is appealing for use in the early school leaver setting



The Eatright website was launched in NI on 29 April 2014 at a meeting of the NEET Forum (The NEET Youth Forum is a Collaboration and Innovation Fund (CIF) project funded by the Department of Employment and Learning, to ensure that the voice of young people, not in education, employment or training, is heard on issues around education, training and employment, with a particular focus on the Pathways to Success Strategy.)

FSA in NI in partnership with safefood worked closely together on this project.  During development of the resource, both organisations:

  • Consulted with trainers and teachers
  • Reviewed current resources and curriculum requirements
  • Identified the need for a flexible resource to complement the curricula
  • Commissioned the development of an online resource to meet the diverse needs of this group
  • Work-shopped a pilot model of the resource content
  • Tested and piloted the resource in Early School Leaver Centres

The resulting resource, is an engaging, innovative online resource that makes learning fun.  It is packed with worksheets, activities, games and videos, which is suitable for a range of abilities and settings and is firmly based on current public health advice, policy and legislation focuses three key areas:

Healthy eating

Food safety

Physical activity and energy balance

The resource includes:

12 information sheets – to find out about healthy eating, food safety, physical activity and energy balance

34 worksheets - basic, intermediate and advanced levels cater for a range of ability and literacy levels

18 activities - quizzes, arts projects, cooking challenges and games suitable for individual or team based work

5 posters and 3 infographics - colourful, up-to-date and packed with practical advice

8 group discussions - conversations to help identify healthier choices in everyday life

8 online games - access interactive games, resources and games that make learning fun

11 videos - videos, ads and animations by the British Nutrition Foundation and safefood apply humour, shock and peer-to-peer approaches.

There has been really positive feedback so far:-

“We really liked the visual style, layout, variety of teaching methods.”

“The quiz and games element was very good as we have some young people with short attention spans. Surveys to gauge activities was good too.”

“The worksheets are very structured, clear and concise and make my job easier when it comes to researching resources for class.”

“Bingo game went down great.”

“We have waited 20 years for a resource like this”

The resource can be accessed and viewed at: