Core competences for children and young people aged 5 to 16 years: A framework of skills and knowledge around food, diet and physical activity  



In 2007, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched Core Food Competences for children aged 5-16 years, developed in consultation with the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF). The competences set out a progressive framework of skills and knowledge which comprise essential building blocks around the themes of diet and health, consumer awareness, cooking and food safety for children and young people. These competences have been widely used, as they provided consistency and a focal point. Uses included an audit tool for teachers mapping out lessons, a guide for developers creating resources for schools and a framework to support curricular change and examination specifications.


Since the original launch of the competences, there have been changes in the curricula around the UK, new education initiatives and policy. It is therefore important that these competences are still fit-for-purpose to fully support teachers and learners.


Updated competences

BNF, along with Public Health England (PHE), FSA Northern Ireland, FSA Scotland and the Welsh Government, initiated a review of the original framework to ensure that it is up-to-date and reflects key areas of priority for children and young people in relation to their education, life skills and health. The updated framework, which includes changes in light of a consultation in January 2014, is now published (see document below). The competences now include physical activity, as well as an enhanced consumer awareness section. They have also been updated to take into account the change to the Eatwell Guide.


The Core Competences:

  • represent core skills and knowledge around the themes of Diet (food and drink), Consumer Awareness, Cooking (Food Preparation and Handling skills), Food Safety and Active Lifestyles (physical activity) and provide an essential benchmark;
  • are progressive and cumulative from one age phase to the next;
  • could be met at home, school or through other activities;
  • show essential knowledge and capability – they are neither a curriculum nor an examination specification;
  • reflect UK-wide practice;
  • aim to help children and young people to develop the skills and knowledge to make and implement healthy food choices.


The Core Competences can be used as:

  • an audit tool to help plan lessons;
  • support curriculum and qualification development;
  • a guide for those developing resources for children and young people.


To find out more and download the competences, click here.