Adopt a School
Adopt a School, which incorporates both Chefs Adopt a School and Hospitality in Schools, is a national charity that was founded in 1990.
Our vision is that every child learns about food in a holistic sense and has the confidence to eat well, be healthy and happy. Our programme helps children to develop healthy eating habits and encourages an enthusiasm and interest in food, cooking, food provenance and sustainability, as well as giving an insight into the hospitality industry. Chefs and hospitality professionals deliver our high quality food education programme in primary schools across the country. We have devised a course of one session per term delivered to the same year group. The lessons are designed to teach children the basics of food and cookery without the need for cooking facilities – which most primary schools lack. All that is required is the classroom.
Benefits of the programme:
- To introduce children and young people to fresh food through an animated approach to tasting.
- Children develop the knowledge and skills to cook, choose and eat healthy, tasty, sustainable food.
- Children are encouraged to reconnect with food and learn about the wider impact of food on health and the environment which helps to develop healthier habits.
- To support primary school teachers to deliver the cooking & nutrition element of the primary curriculum.
- To offer an insight into the hospitality industry.
“Adopt a School is so important, without it, the next generation will undoubtedly suffer”
Heston Blumenthal OBE, Chef Patron, The Fat Duck and member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts
Health & Wellbeing
The Adopt a School Programme aims to improve opportunities for children and to go some way to changing a generation’s attitude to food and combatting health inequalities. Early intervention and preventative work is a critical element of addressing the nation’s health crisis. By the time children finish primary school one in three are overweight or obese, with one in five children obese. Obesity in childhood can contribute to behavioural and emotional difficulties like depression, and reduce educational attainment. Obese children are more likely to need medical care and days off school as a result of illness. At the same time, children’s oral health is fast declining and extractions are the most common reason for 5-9 year-olds in England being admitted to hospital.Typically, it is the poorest children who are most likely to be overweight and obese and have a poor diet. Adopt a School works with many thousands of children across the UK every year and primarily supports schools in areas of high deprivation.
In September 2014, practical cookery and food education became compulsory in the national curriculum for pupils aged 5 – 14 years, and the Government’s Obesity Plan further reinforces the vital role schools have in supporting healthier eating and shaping healthy habits. But despite this, many children are still not receiving the food education and essential cookery skills that they so desperately need. Whilst there might be a willingness amongst teachers to deliver mandatory food education, we know from experience, and also our long waiting list, that many lack the confidence, ability and resources to do so. Responses to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation FELL Survey show that ‘time, budget, facilities and equipment are the biggest challenges facing the delivery of high quality food education in schools’. The Adopt a School programme also showcases how food can be embedded across the curriculum to deliver numeracy and literacy, language and literature, history and geography, maths and science.
Instilling life skills
Many children do not know where their food comes from or how to prepare it. We believe that this leaves a huge gap in their learning and skills development. We therefore aim to equip children with crucial life skills in order to grow into self-confident, independent and healthy adults. Learning how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating enables pupils to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life. Adopt a School chefs and hospitality professionals ignite children’s enthusiasm and interest in food and the hospitality industry, by imparting their knowledge and extensive experience. Through our front of house session, we aim to raise aspirations by enabling children to see the value in the skills of good presentation, communication, social skills as well as the importance of sitting down and enjoying food together. The interactive activity gives each child a purpose and an opportunity to develop their skills.
Latest Evaluation Throughout the school year, we send out both baseline school surveys and AAS 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 AAS 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 benefited 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
Other Adopt a School Evaluations
- Three independent research studies have sought to evaluate the work of the Adopt a School Trust.
- 91% of teachers from 138 schools across England rated the Chefs Adopt a School Programme either excellent or good (Source:HALM 2008).
- Children surveyed by the City University had an overwhelmingly positive attitude to their experience, with 89% wanting further sessions with the Chef.
- Over 97% of teachers surveyed in the GENECON evaluation felt that the Chefs Adopt a School Programme had either some or a significant impact on stimulating children’s interest in food and food provenance.
Adopt a School relies on professional chefs and hospitality professionals volunteering their time to deliver the programme in schools. The chef typically delivers three sessions in a school year to one year group, ranging from taste and sensory to practical cookery, bread-making and front of house.
There are two options to get involved:
1) Our cost-free sessions are delivered by volunteer chefs who give up their time to go into schools. As we rely solely on chefs’ goodwill, we can only offer a limited number of school places and we do have a waiting list of schools. 2) Where there is not a volunteer chef available or you would like a visit sooner, we can offer sessions delivered by one of our qualified and experienced professional Adopt a School chefs. For this option, there would be a cost involved but we try to keep this as low as possible. Significant discounts are available for multiple sessions or classes. To register your interest in the Adopt a School programme, please complete our online registration form.
While we reach some 17,000 children every year, there is no doubt that we need to reach more. But we can’t do this alone. With over 4.5 million primary school children in England, we need the industry to come together to make a greater difference.
Why Adopt a School?
- Inspire and educate the next generation
- Sow the seed of hospitality
- Give something back
- Supports continued professional & personal development
- Fulfil Corporate Social Responsibility commitment
How to get involved:
Attend or nominate a colleague (chef or front of house) to attend an Adopt a School training session or arrange exclusive training at your workplace to learn how to deliver food education to a local primary school. Our trainers have over 20 years of combined experience working in schools and we provide ongoing support to your team, linking them with local schools. Trained employees can then deliver the Adopt a School programme under the banner of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ Adopt a School Trust. To find out more, please contact email@example.com
- Regularly donate to Adopt a School or nominate Adopt a School to be your ‘Charity of the Year’
- Run a special restaurant/hotel/product promotion e.g. add an optional £1 on the bill
- Sponsored events – marathons, triathlons, cycle rides, golf matches, tennis tournaments, sky dive, bungee jumps etc.
- Sponsor Adopt a School sessions at a local school
- Buy tickets or a table at our fundraising dinners
Savoy Educational Trust
Worshipful Company of Cooks
University of West London
Garfield Weston Foundation
The Worshipful Company of
Table Talk Foundation
Who we are
Programme & Event Coordinator
Idris Caldora MCA
Executive Head Chef
North West Regional Chef
Chef Lecturer for London and South East
- David Coubrough (Chairman)
- Amanda Afiya
- Myles Bremner
- Richard Dunne
- Frederick Mostert
- Richard Shepherd CBE
- Brian J Turner CBE
- John Williams MBE
Helena Houghton – Adopt a School Programme Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Juliet Snow – Adopt a School Programme & Events Coordinator: email@example.com
Royal Academy of Culinary Arts 53 Cavendish Road London SW12 0BL
Recipe Cards: click on the picture to view the full recipe