“I’m a firm believer in having a kitchen onsite in a school,” says Gareth Nichols, head teacher at Scawby Academy in Lincolnshire. “We should be providing hot meals for those kids who need them.” Unfortunately for Gareth and the students, the school’s kitchen had never been modernised since it opened and included original features such as an inefficient gas range, inadequate ventilation and asbestos in the roof. “It was a work of art to provide any meals out of the kitchen at all,” he added.
Until Gareth came across the modular KitchenPod design from PKL, he thought he had three unpalatable options: close the kitchen, refurbish or build a completely new one. Estimates of £100,000 for refurbishment, needed as a one-off payment is a sum of money that Scawby, and indeed most schools, simply do not have. “Having the KitchenPod on monthly terms on a lease basis suddenly gave us a great affordable option, as well as only needing a fortnight to get it up and running. We simply kept the old kitchen open until the KitchenPod was open.”
The school wanted to plan for the future with the school spread across two sites, both of which are expected to expand in the coming years. With the help of PKL’s design team where “nothing was too much trouble”, and also the local authority team who run the school’s catering, they chose a larger KitchenPod. This would allow growth from the current 300 pupils up to 500, with even excess capacity to possibly provide a catering service to local care homes.
Now up and running, the students, staff and the school cook are all reaping the benefits of a modern, professional kitchen. “With decent quality catering equipment, the quality and freshness of the meals we serve inevitably goes up,” explained Gareth. “Sharon Clayton, our cook, can plan ahead with an efficient oven, reducing cooking times, meaning meals don’t have to be cooked in advance and left to stand.” Freshly cooked Yorkshire puddings are now apparently a firm favourite. In her own time, Sharon also runs a cookery club in the new KitchenPod, passing on her skills to a new generation. Now with the school firmly in the 21st century, they can all create culinary delights in a new safe, clean and thoroughly modern school kitchen.
Open plan KitchenPod with brick slip finish
To replace existing onsite kitchen which needed a major refurbishment