Vegan parents, their children and teachers are going to benefit from a brand new vegan-inclusive education service launched by The Vegan Society.
The charity, which provides information and guidance on various aspects of veganism, has launched The Vegan Education Network (EN) and hired Laura Chepner, the UK’s only Vegan-inclusive education specialist, as Chair.
After her own vegan child experienced discrimination at school, former teacher Laura founded Primary Veducation – hosting training sessions for school staff - and wrote ‘An Educator’s Guide for Vegan-Inclusive Teaching’. Laura is passionate about working with educators to explain what it means to be vegan and how to appropriately teach and treat vegan pupils.
It comes as interest in veganism is at an all-time high. There’s now estimated to be around 600,000 vegans in the UK, while a 2021 survey by BBC Good Food found 8% of children are following a vegan diet and 15% said they would like to.
The EN is made up of vegan volunteers including head teachers, teachers, lecturers, school food producers and child psychologists. It aims to create collaborative, impactful, and forward-thinking resources that will help and enable educators to be as vegan -inclusive as possible, with ease. Additionally, the EN will create resources that will empower and support vegan parents, children and young people in mainstream education.
Laura Chepner, Chair of The Vegan Society’s Education Network, said: “This is the most perfect time of year to have launched the Education Network and Education Officer role. Many parents will have begun to see the cracks in their children’s education exposed as the first term with their new teachers has come to a close. Christmas especially, will have thrown up many red flags if they were given non-vegan treats and not catered for at the school Christmas lunch. It has always been a busy time of year for me as parents begin to ask the question, ‘Does my child’s new teacher know what being vegan actually means?’
“We estimate there is going to be a lot of interest and demand for the Education Network - particularly as the number of vegan families continues to grow. It’s crucial that our vegan children have access to appropriate meals, plant-based milk-options and activities that are free from the use or abuse of animals. We’re really looking forward to working with teachers and parents over the next year to ensure our schools are as vegan-inclusive as possible.”
Professionals interested in joining the EN or contributing can contact education[at]vegansociety[dot]com. The Vegan Society also has a Youth Membership aimed at those age under 26. You can read more about our Youth Membership and sign up by visiting Youth membership | The Vegan Society.