Another successful academic year for Adopt a School!

Publish Date: August 27, 2019 Posted By: Juliet Snow

It has been a great year for Adopt a School, with around 300 chefs and hospitality professionals delivering the programme to schools across the UK, from Cornwall to the Highlands of Scotland. As we prepare for the new academic year, we wanted to share Adopt a School’s successes over the past twelve months.

As well as visiting over 17,000 primary school children over the course of the year, our chefs and hospitality professionals also delivered sessions outside of the classroom. Through our partnership with LEAF Education, Adopt School chefs Idris Caldora MCA and James Holden took twelve schools across the West Midlands and North West to local farms to teach children about food provenance. 

Whilst continuing our projects at Great Ormond Street Hospital School (GOSH) and Evelina Children’s Hospital, this year Adopt a School has worked hard to reach children both outside of mainstream education and the school term-time. Our London and South-East chef lecturer, Ashley Marsh, whose time is generously sponsored by the University of West London, has delivered sessions to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital School’s Lavender Walk Adolescent Mental Health Unit, Downside Fisher Youth Club, and delivered a five week Holiday Provision Programme Pilot at Alec Reed Primary Academy through our new partnership with fellow charity, School Food Matters. Since embarking on these new projects, we have reached almost 80 more children and young people who deserve a good food education! We look forward to continuing and expanding these projects over the new academic year.

We have also run a number of successful fundraising events over the year at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, The Dorchester, Gisborough Hall, The Royal Automobile Club, and Anfield Stadium. These events have provided a great deal of funding to our programme's crucial core costs, which will allow us to continue to provide children with the good food education they deserve. Thank you to all chefs, front of house professionals, events coordinators, and catering colleges who generously donated their time to support these events. A special thank you goes to Raymond Blanc OBE, Robert Whitfield, Philip Corrick, Molly Shaher, James Holden, and Chris Marshall for masterminding and hosting these events.

Measuring our impact

Throughout the school year, we send out both baseline school surveys and Adopt a School programme feedback evaluation forms to the schools we work with and always receive excellent feedback, as well as requests for us to continue working with their schools. In our most recent evaluation (conducted at the end of the 2018/2019  academic year), 100% of schools surveyed said that they would participate in Adopt a School again and that they would recommend it to other schools in the area. After surveying schools that completed the survey, feedback from schools found:

  • 93% rated the Adopt a School programme as ‘excellent’, 7% rated it as ‘good’
  • 100% schools agreed that the Adopt a School programme has supported the delivery of the cooking and nutrition element of the design and nutrition element of the design and technology curriculum, 77% of whom ‘strongly agreed’ this was the case
  • 72% of schools who responded agreed that ‘The Adopt a School programme has supported cross curricular learning’
  • 98% schools found children had an increased ‘willingness to experience new tastes and foods’
  • 97% schools found children had gained ‘an enthusiasm and interest in cooking’
  • 93% schools believed children had an ‘increased confidence in the children’s food preparation abilities’
  • 91% of schools saw children benefitted from an a better understanding of healthy food choices
  • 86% of children had a better understanding of food provenance
  • 81% of children had enhanced social skills
  • 85% children had a greater understanding of the hospitality industry and the career opportunities that exist
  • 90% of teachers feel more confident to teach basic food preparation techniques to their class
  • 90% of teachers assert they will use food and cooking to deliver different elements of the primary curriculum, such as literacy, numeracy, science

Snapshot of comments

 “It has been a great opportunity for pupils to develop teamwork and work alongside an experienced chef. The pupils had the opportunity to cook a wide range of dishes and learn new skills…. Cooking and nutrition is an integral part of the Design Technology curriculum and this programme has enabled us to deliver this aspect alongside experts. The children loved trying different foods and gained a greater understanding of making healthy choices. Working in teams has also supported their confidence in food preparation and enhanced their social skills, whilst staff have gained from the experience of working alongside the chefs and are more confident in teaching basic food preparation to their classes.”
-Pauline MacMillan, Headteacher at Oakfield Primary School, Essex


“The concept is excellent and the children really benefit from the experience of having professional chefs in school to demonstrate skills, introduce new foods and speak to them about what it is like to work in the hotel/catering business. The children and staff enjoyed the visit from Sarah Frankland and David Atkinson and the children experienced foods which they had never seen or tasted before. This year we have loved watching Sarah on Channel 4's Bake Off - The Professionals, which has helped with discussions regarding Growth Mindset (perseverance, hard-work and effort, practice etc.)”
- Andrea Sykes, Deputy Headteacher at Nine Mile Ride Primary School, Berkshire


“I have just finished another amazing practical knife skills session at my Adopted school, delivering food education to two classes of children in a fun and interactive way. I carry out the sessions with the backing of my employer, as the sessions fit into our out-reach policy, as well as being one of the highlights of my year! The sessions contain such important messages and life skills that all children should know about. The children are learning without realising it a lot of the time, and their faces tell the whole story…I wish that Adopt-a-School had been around when I was a kid!”
-  Mark Errington, Sous Chef at House of Commons



Dates for the diary


  • Tuesday 17th September: Adopt a School Training, 15:00-18:00 at Westminster Kingsway College, SW1P 2PD
  • Tuesday 24th September: Adopt a School Fundraising Dinner at The Waterside Inn
  • Tuesday 15th October: Adopt a School Fundraising Dinner at The Dorchester
  • Tuesday 19th November: Adopt a School Training, 15:00-18:00 at Westminster Kingsway College, SW1P 2PD
  • Tuesday 24th March: Adopt a School Fundraising Dinner at Westminster Kingsway College

For more information on any of these events, please contact Helena Houghton
E: T: 020 8673 6300



We are incredibly grateful for the tremendous support Adopt a School has received from across the industry. In this past year alone, we have received continuous support from University of West London, The Savoy Educational Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Worshipful Company of Cooks, The Worshipful Company of Innholders, Lexington Catering, Ch&Co, Evolve Hospitality, Baxter Storey, Harrisons Catering, Middlesbrough College, Westminster Kingsway College, William Curley, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, The Ritz London, Essential Cuisine, Lucknam Park, Chez Roux, Pennyhill Park, Liverpool F.C., Brigade,  Amba Hotels, Firmdale Hotels, Gleneagles, – to name but a few

If you are a chef or hospitality professional and are interested in participating in the Adopt a School programme, please contact our Programme Manager, Helena Houghton, by emailing

If you are a school who would like to have Adopt a School delivered in your classroom, please contact our Programme Coordinator, Alys Bannister, by emailing