Another Successful Year For Adopt a School

Publish Date: September 10, 2018 Posted By: Alys Bannister

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 15,000 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 and James Holden took six schools across the West Midlands and North West to local farms to teach children about food provenance. Schools ‘adopted’ by The Pig Hotel, HSBC Tower, and Trafalgar St James’ Hotel were also invited to come and visit the hotel and kitchen for an insight into the catering and hospitality industry. Louise Buxton, Head Teacher of St Joseph’s Catholic School said the experience of visiting The Pig’s kitchen garden and sampling The Pig’s homemade produce allowed children to see behind the scenes in a working hotel / restaurant, allowing them to aspire to visit such places when they are older and even work within the industry…We take children from a wide and varied catchment area and some of them only have experience of McDonalds…”

Children from St Joseph's visiting The Pig Hotel gardens

Adopt a School chefs and volunteers have also worked with hospital schools, ensuring that children in hospital had access to good food education and learn vital cooking skills. Our chef lecturer, Ashley Marsh, delivered sessions to pupils at Evelina Hospital School, as well as dialysis patients who are unable to attend the school. During his sessions with dialysis patients, he worked with hospital nutritionists to devise a menu of dishes which suited the children’s dietary requirements. Chef Ashley also worked with the children to create healthy versions of food which they were no longer able to eat, such as making sweet potato chips for children who desperately missed french fries. Ten academicians, William Curley, Mark Flanagan MVO, Peter Fiori, Simon Boyle, Ashley Marsh, Stephen Carter, Anthony Marshall, Rob Kirby, Steve Walpole, and Clive Howe also delivered sessions across the year at Great Ormond Street Hospital School.

A healthy pasta salad made during one of the GOSH sessions

Adopt a School has also received tremendous support from our partners across the industry. Harrison Catering has continued to play a huge part in delivering Adopt a School across almost 50 schools, reaching 2,100 children. Over the year, 11 chefs and front of house employees from Restaurant Associates adopted schools across Tower Hamlets, an area of inner London which has one of the highest levels of child poverty and obesity in the UK. We have also been supported by Quorn Foods with 11 of their Home Economists delivering our  programme to 680 children across 16 primary schools. Janet Pontefract, who adopted two schools in the West Midlands found the programme “very rewarding” and felt “privileged to be part of such a fantastic project. The engagement and interaction from the children…and their excitement as they looked forward to going home to show off their new culinary skills was inspiring to see.”

Pupils preparing salmon at a schools adopted by University of West London

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 The Pig Group, Lexington Catering, House of Commons, The Royal Household, Lucknam Park, The Ritz London, Chez Roux, East India Club, Bolton Wanderers FC, Brigade, Boodles, Amba Charing Cross, Hakkasan, Gleneagles, Elystan Street, Evolve Hospitality Recruitment, Locanda Locatelli, Baxter Storey, University of West London, Middlesbrough College, Chewton Glen, Pennyhill Park, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, CH&Co, Essential Cuisine– to name but a few!

Evolve Catering delivering a Front of House session

Adopt a School is rewarding for children, teachers and professionals who participate in the programme. 100% of chefs who delivered Adopt a School would teach the programme again and 100% of schools who  took part in the programme would recommend it to other schools in their area. Chris Brampton, a teacher at St Anne’s Catholic School in London claimed “it has been one of the best programmes delivered.” Gareth Ludlam, a teacher at Oakfield Primary School in Essex said “as a teacher, the programme taught me just as much as the children!

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 helenahoughton@raoca.org.uk

If you are a school who would like to have Adopt a School delivered in your classroom, please contact our Programme Administrator, Alys Bannister, by emailing alysbannister@raoca.org.uk