Home economics teachers to be taught at Queen Margaret University
Today, 4th March, the Scottish Government announced that Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh is to launch a new Postgraduate Diploma in Home Economics.
QMU returns to its roots with its new one year programme which will help to develop teachers who can fill vital posts in secondary schools and positively influence young people’s knowledge and skills relating to food, nutrition, health and lifestyle.
The Professional Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education (Home Economics) is designed to attract people with a health sciences, food or science related undergraduate degree who have aspirations to work as home economics teachers in Scotland’s secondary schools. With the new one year postgraduate diploma the University aims to attract candidates who are passionate about helping improve young people’s knowledge of food, nutrition and diet and who can help them develop vital skills that will equip them well as they move into adulthood. The first cohort of 20 students will take their place at QMU in September 2019.
The University has a history of food education dating back to its inception in 1875. It was first established as the Edinburgh School of Cookery, emerging in a period that was notable for real economic progress, but also characterised by many social and economic divisions and inequalities, as well as widespread poverty. The original institution’s purpose was to address two key problems facing society at that time – improved educational opportunities for women and the need to bring about an improvement in diets, particularly for working class families from poorer backgrounds.
QMU’s founding institution, The Edinburgh School of Cookery, which later became Atholl Crescent and then Queen Margaret College, developed a worldwide reputation for the training of domestic science teachers. It enjoyed this status for many years but eventually, due to changing market demand for home economics degrees, the institution’s last intake of students to its BA Home Economics was in 1986. However, it has continued to develop its expertise in food related subjects by offering undergraduate degrees in nutrition; dietetics; biological health sciences; nutrition & food science; and public health nutrition; the UK’s first master’s in Gastronomy and conducting both postgraduate and commercial research into food. In 2014, Queen Margaret University established the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation which is helping provide SMEs and national food organisations with research and development, consumer testing and specialist facilities to help them develop their businesses.
Professor Brigid Daniel, Dean of the School of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management. explained: “Of course, the new postgraduate course will also focus on other important areas of health, wellbeing and lifestyle beyond the food related subjects of
health, nutrition, food selection and preparation techniques. Areas such as consumer behaviours, motivations and trends; textile technologies and sustainability; as well as global perspectives on lifespan wellbeing, will offer students a well rounded programme which fits well with modern day secondary education and the changing needs of young people.”
Professor Peta Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “Throughout its history, QMU has always responded to the changing needs of society by developing degrees and initiatives which help address key issues. We are acutely aware that modern day Scotland continues to struggle with the challenges of poor diet and lifestyle and that there is currently a skills shortage relating to home economics within our secondary schools. We are therefore pleased that the Scottish Government has taken this positive step to support Queen Margaret University as the new provider of the Professional Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education (Home Economics).
“We look forward to recruiting students into the new course and educating them to inspire, motivate and influence our next generation of young people.”