How To Set Up A School Cookery Club

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The pupils at Marshgate Primary School in Richmond have been lucky enough to take part in parent led cookery lessons. These are funded by the Parent Staff Association and offer the opportunity for every child to have one cookery club session per year during school hours with their peers.

They have proved to be very popular with children, parents and teachers alike (and also any siblings who get to sample the delicious baking at the end of day).

I spoke with Juliet Cassidy, the parent organiser about how the cookery club came about and to pick her brains for some top tips to set up school cookery club at your school.

As part of the Marshgate Primary School 10th Anniversary celebrations there was a parent questionnaire around Provision and Strategy of services offered by the school. One message came through loud and clear from teachers, parent and children alike – more cooking please!

Fortunately Marshgate has a purpose built cookery room with two ovens and a good selection of cooking utensils and bakeware.

It was decided that the cookery classes would be parent led but take place during normal school hours in a one hour timeslot. A budget of £15-£20 per class per year was agreed to cover ingredients and some essential supplies for the cookery room. Classes of 30 were then divided into 5 groups of 6 children who were able to work in pairs to bake their own food. Every class group cooked the same recipe.

Juliet chose recipes that were achievable in the hour long timetable slot, which must include time to wash and tidy up too. The food also needed to be easily portable, and to last until the end of the school day if necessary. Baking successes have included:

  • Jam Tarts
  • Gingerbread
  • Easy Pizza
  • Courgette Muffins
  • Scones

Top Ten Top Tips To Set Up A School Cookery Club

  1. Research and establish interest amongst parents, teachers and staff in setting up a school cookery club. Use existing PSA communications such as parent emails to garner support from families and use parent feedback channels to propose the idea to the school. Feel free to include a link to this blog page and our kids cooking recipe ideas!
  2. Work out how the cooking club will be funded. At a cost of under £1 per child it really is a cost effective activity that kids will really benefit from and enjoy. See our article on the top ten reasons to get cooking with kids here (link)
  3. From 2014 Sainsbury’s Active Kids vouchers can be used to purchase cooking equipment for the school. An ideal time to stock up the cookery room with some new supplies.
  4. Establish a suitable venue on site and liaise with the school to book a regular time slot for the 5-6 weeks of the cooking club classes.
  5. Recruit your parent volunteers! At Marshgate Primary there are 2 parent helpers per week to cook with a group of 6 children.
  6. Choose your recipes. Our suggestions work well in an hour timeslot and leave time for the baking to cool and for the little chefs to help the big chefs tidy and clean the cookery room.
  7. Inspire confidence in the parent helpers by circulating the recipes in advance to allow them to practice in the comfort of their own home (with their own children) if they wish to.
  8. As cooking club co-ordinator you may find it useful to print out the recipes onto card, laminate them and store them in a folder for ease of use and reference. Wipe clean too!
  9. Purchase the ingredients and find a designated place to store them in cupboards/fridges in the cookery room ready for the cookery club each week.
  10. Collaborate – get recipe and cooking ideas from families from different cultures.

If your school cookery club is a success and there is an appetite for more, you can arrange further blocks of 5 sessions funded by the parents at £1-£2 per head to cover ingredients costs.

We would love to hear about your experiences of cooking with kids at school and see your pictures. Please contact info@cookify.co.uk  and we’ll post the best up on our blog.

Cookify – cooking with confidence.

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