Coatbridge Burger Challenge

Coatbridge Burger Challenge

About the Project

The Coatbridge Burger Challenge was developed as a partnership activity between family butcher, HK Pender and Coatbridge High School as part of the SFDF Schools Programme.

HK Pender is a long established and well-known local butcher and delicatessen based in Coatbridge. All produce sold in the shops is sourced from a local farm and fully traceable. HK Pender is a family run business and is committed to supporting the development of knowledge and understanding of the meat industry and its products within their local community.

Developed to support interdisciplinary learning for all S2 pupils at Coatbridge High School, the Burger Challenge aimed to build capacity of learners by encouraging pupils to better comprehend and appreciate Food Technology by developing an understanding of:

  • Different cooking methods that retain nutrients and reduce fat
  • The product development process from concept to market
  • The wider food and drink industry including labelling, packaging and advertising
  • Skills required by industry.

The pupils were challenged to design a healthy new burger suitable for sale in a local butcher shop and encouraged to explore the areas of; new product development, different cooking methods, nutrients in food, marketing and promotion and careers and job roles to support these activities in the industry.

Interdisciplinary working is the way I would like to work all the time. A Future in Food requires a little effort but provides a lot of impact due to the support from industry.

Anne McGivern, (Former) Principal Teacher HE and Health

Project Partners, Aims and Objectives

  • Develop an interdisciplinary approach to teaching
  • Provide pupils with real life experiences, active engagement and positive links with a local business
  • Help pupils to gain employability skills
  • Encourage pupils to understand the links between subjects studied in schools and application in the food and drink industry
  • Help pupils gain confidence
  • Encourage educated food choices by evaluating technological processes
  • Develop co-operative learning with personalization and choice at the core
  • Support the local community


Understanding Food Technology – the activity was designed to encourage awareness and understanding of food technology as a potential career opportunity, and the skills and attributes required by employers in the industry.

Enhanced skills – pupils learned and developed skills including team working, communication, listening, problem solving, numeracy and organisation. The programme also helped to foster creative and enterprising attitudes in the students.

Personalisation and choice – the activity allowed learners to experience a depth of learning across the wider curriculum. Learners understood how a variety of subjects linked into the project and transferred skills that they had gained into meaningful active learning events.

Understanding Industry – pupils benefitted from the input of business partners and stakeholders and this helped to enhance their understanding of the wider food industry, including manufacturing. The school has now established links that will be used in the future.

How we did it

The School launched their “Coatbridge Burger Challenge” to individual classes, Hugh Pender visited the school to speak to each of the classes and provide an overview of his business and the processes involved in product development. He then set the pupils the challenge to develop a new healthy burger for sale in his shop.

The year group worked teams within their practical classes to start the challenge, to develop their new burger using a variety of meats and ingredients. Prototypes were tested on teachers and pupils and adaptations made depending on feedback. Pupils were allowed to try out different recipes and different foods and the teams were allowed to experiment and work on their product ideas.

Each class then chose an individual winner to go forward to the final stage.

Each class then worked on developing a marketing plan with associated materials to promote their burger. These included presentations to promote their products, packaging and music jingles. Some classes also undertook additional research outwith school time to investigate nutritional information, conduct market research and gather additional information to support their campaigns.

A final event saw all the winning products and presentations made to a team of judges with a winner announced at a special ceremony in front of the whole year group. Prizes were also distributed, these included: a trophy and a visit to the farm where HK Pender sources their meat for the winning team.

What we learned

Exploring the wider curriculum - staff and pupils benefitted from the opportunity to explore the wider curriculum and through the project.

Understanding food and food technology – the project encouraged greater understanding of the food product development process and associated skills required. Investigating different cooking methods and the effect that these have on nutrient and fat contents also improved understanding of health and wellbeing.

School and Community – benefitted from developing positive links with a well-known local business.

Raising aspirations – Industry and stakeholder involvement in the activity provided pupils with access to a range of different job roles and skills requirements and also potential job and career pathways, all of which help to inspire and encourage young people.

Impact on breadth and depth of learning – learners produced more than could have been delivered through normal delivery of the curriculum, exploring real life situations in a real life context. Practitioners gained confidence in the delivery of food education as they saw learners exceeding all expectations.

What next?

Embed activity in curriculum – the project is now embedded in the S2curriculum and will run in future years allowing more departments to work together and involve more business partners.

To include more departments – expand the project to include other departments

Promotion of activity as a CPD opportunity – involvement in this partnership provides an ideal opportunity for school staff to improve their knowledge of the industry through site visits and working with industry on specific projects and also supports staff development in industry.