Researchers will investigate the notion of 'culinary capital' in relation to school lunch times and their impact on pupils.
The University of Wolverhampton will be working with a Midlands school on a pilot project, examining habits and behaviours and developing recommendations for best practice.
Researchers Dr Gurpinder Lalli, Principal Investigator and Senior Lecturer in Education Studies, and Dr Brendan Bartram, Research Mentor, have been offered the first BESA (British Education Studies Association) research grant for the project.
Dr Lalli said that beyond providing sustenance, food plays an important social role and meal times give children a chance to interact and develop relationships with their peers.
He said: "We are working with a school which has recently revamped its lunchtime model, so we are hoping it can be used as a best practice case study from which we can make recommendations for positive change.
"This research will have a wider impact on schools across the UK as it will be used as a model for developing opportunities for learning and developing forms of capital during the school meal. The layout, seating arrangements and mixing age groups, staff and pupils can all have a positive impact on social development and, along with a good diet, can contribute to wellbeing among pupils."
They will be carrying out observations and interviews with pupils and staff over a 12 month period before reporting on their findings. The aim is to help schools make the most of mealtimes and use these as an opportunity for children to mix with different age groups and develop their social skills and life skills beyond the classroom.
Recommendations will be made at the end of the project and the school will be used as a case study to show best practice.
Date issued: Thursday, 10 January 2019