Progress on Overall Programme delivery
51. This section evaluates the programme's delivery, it aims to answer the question 'how was the intervention implemented and delivered'. It assesses whether the FEP was implemented effectively.
52. In order to assess project delivery, an assessment was undertaken which drew upon information gathered from the various data provided by individual projects, which included:
- Individual projects' progress against targets set by the Scottish Government
- Individual projects' achievement of project aims
- Challenges faced
- Feedback from the target populations on successful delivery and satisfaction
- Identification of characteristics/features of successful projects
53. In this section, no assessment is made of the relative advantages or disadvantages of the projects in comparison to each other. This is because evaluation activities and monitoring are not necessarily comparable across projects. Furthermore, projects were encouraged to work collaboratively where possible. The section therefore looks at the performance of the programme at an overall level.
Individual project's progress against targets set by the Scottish Government
54. When providing funding to individual projects, the Scottish Government set out targets for each project to deliver on. These targets were reviewed and agreed on with each project and were in the main to ensure that a minimum number of opportunities were created for pupils to learn about food. The targets were also set to ensure that resources were produced and distributed, teachers could access further support if needed and that progress reports were provided on a timely basis.
55. Coordinators reported progress on targets set on a bi-annual basis: through an interim report half way through the financial year (around September) and an end of year report (in March).
56. From the information provided by project coordinators, at an overall level, the programme appeared to work well meeting most of its targets and objectives.
57. In many cases, projects not only aimed to achieve their targets but actually exceeded them. Some projects reported several examples of additional activities that were taking place to expand food education in schools that were beyond the original scope of their targets.
58. In a minority of cases targets were achieved, but with a slight delay. This was due to a variety of reasons, namely lack of resources, changes in personnel or issues with the infrastructure of certain venues/locations. However, individual projects (for the most part) continuously reported on challenges faced and explained what actions were taken to mitigate problems while ensuring the smooth delivery of their projects and individual activities.
59. A systematic review of progress towards achieving Scottish Government targets is provided in the Annexes for each individual project.
Achievement of individual project aims
60. Additionally, all projects set out their own objectives which they aimed to achieve on a yearly basis and/or by the end of the programme.
61. These objectives were therefore tailored to each individual project and formed the basis of the range of activities undertaken by individual projects.
62. From the data provided by project coordinators, at an overall level, the projects demonstrated a strong commitment towards achieving their individual goals. Mostly and throughout the life of the project, objectives were met and in some cases exceeded.
63. With the exception of one project, most projects delivered against targets set and in many instances took part and/or organised further activities beyond the scope of their targets.
Challenges faced by projects in delivery
64. While all projects shared the overall goal of spreading and increasing food education, each project did so in its own way. Despite individual idiosyncrasies, the challenges faced by the different projects were similar and are each outlined below.
- Limited access to resources: Lack of resources, in terms of limited staff, monetary constraints and time pressures, was the greatest challenge stated by all project coordinators.
- Introduction of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE): When the programme started, CfE had just been introduced and teachers were still adjusting to the new system. As such, project coordinators initially struggled to instigate teachers' interest in the subject. Through persistent communication and a range of CPD sessions on offer, as well as making guidance resources available to teachers, the initial resistance encountered was alleviated.
- Industry engagement: Another challenging aspect shared by many projects was around ensuring engagement from industry. The difficulty was not only in sparking initial interest in food education, but also ensuring continued and on-going commitment in taking part in the programme.
- Resistance among secondary schools: Generally, introducing food education projects was found to be much easier among primary schools than secondary schools. Embeddedness in the curriculum also appeared to work faster among primary schools as responsibility of the curriculum tends to lie within one person. It was often argued that obtaining consensus from the wide range of departments in secondary schools made it harder for food education to go beyond 'Home Economics' or the 'Health & Wellbeing' subject.
65. Over time, many of the challenges cited at the beginning of the programme were alleviated or even overcome. This had been achieved as a direct result of the commitment, passion and dedication of different project coordinators.
Feedback from target audiences
66. Overall, feedback collected from the programme's target audiences was overwhelmingly positive. It should be noted, however, that all data was collected by project coordinators themselves and response rates in some cases were very low, ranging from 5 to over 100. Despite the low response rate in some cases, data provided has still been used to offer an indication of engagement with the programme.
Feedback from teachers
67. The pilot years of the FEP coincided with the introduction of CfE in schools. As noted previously some resistance was encountered initially due to the added pressures of implementing the new curriculum in schools. However, once the first hurdle of resistance was overcome, teachers started to engage with the programme more enthusiastically. When data was collected, feedback was consistently positive. Statistics around usage of resources was also encouraging showing an upward trend across all projects. Among those teachers who attended CPD sessions or other learning events, response given on these events was also very positive with many not only rating their experience highly but also intending to share their new gained knowledge with the wider school community.
Feedback from pupils
68. Of the limited number of projects who collected feedback information directly from pupils, the responses received were also very positive. Generally, the activities that attracted most interest were those that required hands on interaction. As a result of taking part in the FEP, many pupils claimed to have learnt something new about food; particularly in relation to the food industry and the types of job and qualifications on offer. Among those who completed feedback forms, there appeared to be an appetite for behaviour change, with pupils claiming to be more willing to try new foods or considering a career in the industry as a result of taking part in the FEP.
Feedback from industry
69. This positivity towards the programme was also embodied by the industry partners who took part in the FEP. While project coordinators found it challenging to engage with industry and moreover maintain a long term relationship with them, the limited feedback recorded from industry was very encouraging. The main difficulty in this respect was around the lack of knowledge from both schools and industry alike on how to engage with each other. As such, in many cases, project coordinators were tasked with mediating, facilitating and supporting these relationships.
Identification of features of success
70. While each project has its own individual characteristics, there are a range of features of success that are common to all.
- Involvement from industry: While challenging at times, industry investment and more general business engagement with the project, exceeded the expectations of the project coordinators. The amount of in-kind investment increased continuously over time reaching a total of over £851,400 during Year 3 alone. Since the programme started in 2010, overall in-kind investment from industry and other external partners has been conservatively estimated by the project coordinators at over £2.5 million.
- Development of resources: From the beginning of the programme there was a requirement for a set of consistent messages to be conveyed by resources and for teachers to know which resources to use and trust. Good developments were achieved in this area as the programme became more established. In particular, resources provided by Education Scotland and SFDF were welcomed and widely used.
- Pupil opportunities to learn about food: There was also a continuous increase in the number of pupil opportunities provided to learn about food. The number of schools engaged in the programme also grew year on year. The programme, at a total level, achieved nation-wide reach though some areas (particularly around the Highland & Islands) were only engaged by one or two projects.
- Collaboration among projects: There were many examples of partnership work among food education partners, not only to deliver their specific activities but also in terms of resource development and promotion of the scheme.
- Positive receipt of the programme: Finally, feedback collected by project coordinators was positive: not only from pupils, but also from teachers and industry.
Summary on overall programme delivery
71. At an overall level, the programme appeared to have been delivered well meeting and sometimes exceeding its targets and objectives.
72. Over time, many of the challenges encountered at the beginning of the programme were overcome. This was achieved as a result of the commitment, passion and dedication of the different project coordinators.
73. The greatest challenges faced by project coordinators remain, however, lack of resources (e.g. limited staff, monetary constraints and time pressures).
74. Schools/teachers were initially under significant pressure with the implementation of CfE which resulted in initial resistance from teachers to engage with FEP particularly during Year 1. However, in subsequent years as the pressure from implementing and understanding the CfE subsided, schools and teachers became more willing and enthusiastic to participate.
75. Introducing food education projects was easier among primary schools than secondary schools. Embeddedness in the curriculum also appeared to occur much quicker among primary schools as responsibility for the curriculum was more likely to lie with one person. It was reported that obtaining consensus from a number of departments in secondary schools made it harder for food education to go beyond 'Home Economics' or the 'Health & Wellbeing' theme.
76. From the beginning of the programme there was a requirement for a set of resources for teachers to use and trust. Good progress was made in this area as the programme became more established.
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