With some children going hungry through the country’s third national lockdown, teachers at a Nottingham school have taken an alternative approach to free school meal deliveries and vouchers by launching its own cooking show.
Six hundred of 1,500 students at the Ellis Guilford School in Old Basford are eligible for free school meals, according to associate assistant principal Colin Collington.
To help families be resourceful with their food while also learning new skills in the kitchen, a group of creative teachers teamed up to establish the YouTube streamed cooking show.
Paul Knighton, better known as Mr K, explained how his ‘foolproof’ recipes are easy, nutritional and ‘definitely not long winded’.
The design technology teacher and ex-chef thought of the cooking videos as a way to keep students engaged with online learning whilst trying to learn a practical subject.
He said: “We are using it as a learning resource, no one wants the kids to suffer from death by PowerPoint”.
After the government made a U-turn on its decision to hand out vouchers instead of food parcels, the Old Basford school made the decision to continue with their hamper production as they believe it to be more resourceful.
Mr Collington, who is also a music teacher said: “The government just provide food that’s needed for survival, we look at it from a humanistic approach and put in more than just ingredients”.
Hampers provided from the school include not only a range of ingredients with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, but also a number of recipes written up by Mr K for children to try out with their families, alongside the videos.
“It’s a good way of saying to kids we are still the same old daft teachers throughout Covid”
Chris Collington, associate assistant principal
The cooking show will be posted to the schools YouTube account every Tuesday with a different guest host, or sous chef, joining Mr K every week.
Due to Covid restrictions and many of the Ellis Guilford staff working from home, Mr Collington explained how there are restraints on who can join the show because of this.
He said: “Whilst we want to get everyone involved, I am not going to put any of our staff in harm’s way.
“So much of the national rhetoric is very serious at the minute, it’s a good way of saying to kids we are still the same old daft teachers throughout Covid”.
Mr K has plenty of experience in the kitchen through his previous experience as a chef – both working with the pace of fast food and also in a la carte setting.
He started as a manager for the McDonald’s chain for seven years and then decided to train as a chef, where he worked in hotels and eventually opened up his own coffee shop.
After starting a catering course, within three weeks he was asked to teach, and then began teaching full time within just four weeks.
The design and technology teacher explained how he uses a lot of the same skills he learnt in the industry in the cooking show.
Cooking With Mr K is built in to the curriculum where students are able to pause the video, make notes and answer questions based off the clips.
Mr Collington, who edits the videos, added that there’s no long term learning in just writing through practical subjects such as music and design technology, showing the importance of the videos.
He said: “It could help all videos… there’s work that accompanies the videos that asks why are we doing this process etc.
“We’ve built it into the lessons for an in depth analysis of techniques.”
The food hampers are provided for children entitled to free school meals, however, the videos are streamed for all families to enjoy, even those outside of the Ellis Guilford community.
Students collect the hampers from the school with specific time slots to ensure social distancing unless specific reasons prevent them from doing so, in which case the school will act to ensure students receive their food.