Adopt a School 2018 Round Up

Publish Date: December 19, 2018 Posted By: Juliet Snow

We can't believe that yet another year has passed! 2018 has been a very busy year for Adopt a School, with over 16,000 children across the UK receiving Adopt a School sessions from Academicians, Associate Members, Adopt a School trained chefs and hospitality professionals and the AAS team. As childhood obesity, malnutrition, and poor dental hygiene rates are drastically increasing, and schools are becoming further stretched in terms of time, resources, and budget, we are thrilled with the enthusiasm the hospitality industry has shown for Adopt a School, and we wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the highlights of the past year and thank everyone who has made this such a successful year for Adopt a School.

As well as delivering our usual Adopt a School sessions, our team chefs have been tirelessly working on a variety of projects over the course of the year; in the North, Adopt a School Chef Lecturer James Holden worked with Bolton Wanderers Community Trust to deliver afterschool parent and children cooking classes. Meanwhile in London, Chef Lecturer Ashley Marsh has been delivering sessions at Evelina Children’s Hospital School. Over the course of the year, Ashley also delivered sessions to children on the dialysis ward and, with the help of hospital dieticians, is working with the children who are on restricted diets to create their own book of personalised recipes using their favourite ingredients. Executive Chef Idris Caldora has delivered eight Chef on a Farm sessions in partnership with LEAF education to primary and secondary school children across the West Midlands. In September, Idris also delivered a Taste and Sensory session to children at a school in Battersea, with special guest, the Mayor of Wandsworth in attendance. In addition to this, Idris and our consultant trainer, Sarah Howard, have been delivering training and observation sessions to new Adopt a School volunteers. We are proud to announce that we have had 200% increase in those attending Adopt a School training seminars this year, and would like to thank the hospitality industry for their support and commitment to providing children with a much-needed good food education.

December has been filled with lots of exciting Adopt a School activities; chef Anthony Marshall has delivered his annual Christmas session at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and our team chef, Ashley Marsh, prepared an inclusive Christmas Lunch for children attending the Evelina Hospital School, as well as those on the dialysis ward. Adopt a School’s Chief Executive, Sara Jayne Stanes, treated Year 3 pupils at St Mary’s Primary School in Battersea to an exclusive ‘chocolate workshop’, as the children have spent the term reading Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. During the workshop, pupils learnt about the history of chocolate, how it is grown and produced, and the different types of chocolate available across the world. The session was underpinned with a healthy eating message, with Sara teaching the children about the difference between mass-produced ‘confectionery’, which often contains high levels of sugar, and ‘real chocolate’, which contains high levels of cocoa solids and lower levels of sugar. Adopt a School has been working closely with St Mary’s Primary School for a number of years, and Executive Chef Idris Caldora has been delivering Adopt a School sessions to St Mary’s Year 4 classes this year.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Ashley Marsh, Idris Caldora MCA, Chris Sheppardson and EP Magazine, Simon King, Evolve Hospitality and Amba Charing Cross who have all fundraised in aid of Adopt a School, some of whom completed physical challenges including the Nuclear Races, RideLondon-Surrey, Royal Parks Half Marathon, and a skydive! We would also like to thank the Royal Automotive Club, Belmond Le Manoir, and the Grill at The Dorchester, who generously hosted our Adopt a School fundraising events over the course of the year. We would also like to thank the Savoy Educational Trust, Worshipful Company of Cooks, Worshipful Company of Innholders, Garfield Weston Foundation, and University of West London for their invaluable support as well as those who have generously donated to AAS this year or supported any of our fundraising events.

We are eagerly looking forward to what 2019 will bring for Adopt a School. In the New Year, James Holden with help from Idris Caldora and Ashley Marsh will be rolling out our ‘Pyramid Programme’, which was piloted in the North West and works with catering colleges, who adopt three secondary schools and also deliver parent and child cooking courses; the secondary schools will then adopt three primary schools each. The aim is to share expertise and resources with the aim of providing good food education within the community. A further development is that we are looking at ways to deliver Adopt a School sessions during the summer holidays (currently we only work during term-time) by working with existing holiday clubs. The sessions would focus on practical cookery and will provide children with a second meal (the first provided by the holiday club) to take home with them. We are confident that these priorities will further enable us to reach more children.

2019 dates for the diary:

  • Thursday 7th February- Adopt a School training seminar at Westminster Kingsway College
  • Sunday 10thMarch - Members of the RACA and Adopt a School team will be taking part in the Vitality Half Marathon to raise funds for Adopt a School.
  • Friday 21st March –Take Three Colleges fundraising dinner, North East, hosted by Middlesbrough College.
  • Friday 12th April– Annual Take Three Colleges dinner at the Royal Automobile Club, London.
  • Tuesday 30th April- Adopt a School training seminar at Westminster Kingsway College
  • Friday 3rd May– Fundraising dinner at University College Birmingham.
  • Friday 21stJune – Take Six Colleges fundraising dinner at Liverpool FC.
  • Tuesday 25th June- Adopt a School training seminar at Westminster Kingsway College
  • Sunday 4thAugust – Idris Caldora will take on Ride London for the last time to raise funds for Adopt a School.
  • Tuesday 24thSeptember – Fundraising dinner at the Waterside Inn.


Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year from all of the Adopt a School team!