Adopt a School Week
National Adopt a School Week to return (5th – 9th of March 2018)
Following the success of last year’s pilot which aimed to increase awareness of the importance of engaging with young people about food education and hospitality, members of the highly acclaimed Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) and other industry professionals will return to schools in March to deliver food and front of house education lessons throughout the UK.
During the week of 5th of March 2018, over 2000 children in UK schools (including hospital schools such as Great Ormond Street) will be visited by industry professionals for lessons in where food comes from, healthy eating, food growing and preparation, bread making and front of house skills. With industry skills shortages and the UK obesity crisis continuing to swell, programmes like this benefit everyone – and deserve to be well supported.
The campaign will be once again led by Adopt a School’s Sarah Howard and this year the line-up of companies and individuals involved has increased. Companies giving their time and support include; The Ritz London, Harrisons Catering, Lexington, Elior UK, The Pig (Home Grown Hotels), Goodwood Estate, Cordon Bleu, Evolve Hospitality, Natoora, Quorn, University of West London, Saltyard, The Delaunay, Locanda Locatelli, and Lucknam Park to name but a few. Even The French Embassy and Houses of Parliament are sending their chefs into schools. Well known chefs, Hywel Jones, Adam Byatt, James Golding and Giorgio Locatelli were some of the first to put their names forward for the second year running.
What makes Adopt a School so special are the 300 or so members who voluntarily give their time to educate the young. In fact, many see it as their duty and a real privilege to pass on their skills to the younger generation – inspiring future stars of the hospitality industry whilst increasing their food knowledge. Since being nominated as the chosen charity at last year’s Catey’s Awards, interest and activity levels have increased. Members of the Adopt a School team run training sessions for individuals and companies who want to get involved and give them the knowledge and support necessary to work in schools.
From growing vegetables to visiting a farm, learning how to prepare and cook healthy ingredients, baking bread, laying a table or visiting a restaurant, children from all walks of life are provided with a hands-on experience. The charity receives no Government funding. It relies upon the goodwill of its members, supporters and valued sponsors to raise funds.
Chairman of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and Executive Chef of The Ritz, John Williams, said of the campaign “Adopt a School perfectly complements everything The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts stands for – it promotes food education and helps youngsters to appreciate hospitality from a young age. I endorse National Adopt a School Week and its supporters”.
Sara Jayne Stanes, Chief Executive of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and Adopt a School emphasises that “There is more and more evidence that learning from an early age about food and nutrition – and its impact on us and the environment - can aid emotional and physical development and is a catalyst for cross curricula education linking with all mainstream subjects. The RACA has been running Adopt a School for over 25 years because we know it makes sense and it makes a difference to the well-being and the future of many young and not so young lives”.
Note: As a national charity, since 1990, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ Adopt a School Trust has been teaching primary school children about food, cookery, food provenance and growing, healthy eating, nutrition, hygiene and the importance of eating together. Academy chefs and hospitality professionals deliver session ranging from taste and sensory to advance practical cookery and front of house, in the classroom, in restaurants and on farms.
Adopt a School recognises that a child’s development is crucial for their future health and well-being. The programme has adopted an innovative approach to tackling health inequalities by giving children the knowledge to improve their own health and wellbeing, as well as supporting parents and teachers to embed healthy eating messages in schools and at home.
Since its inception in 1990, we estimate that we have reached some half a million children. Our hands-on approach can, and does, make a difference to children’s lives. We are delighted that we were able to celebrate our 25th anniversary last year and we are very proud of our achievements; but working to deliver good quality food education in schools is as important now as ever before.
By Sarah Howard, campaign leader & member of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts