St Paul’s Whitechapel serves an area of high deprivation in Tower Hamlets, where circumstances can limit the academic and social development opportunities for pupils. The borough faces some of the highest childhood obesity rates in England so the school felt the need to create an environment where children could learn about health and well-being in tangible ways. PKL Group helped develop a new food teaching facility to help the school deliver a whole new food ethos based around Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project.
Integrating cooking and growing into the curriculum has provided the school with the opportunity to make a difference in the health of its pupils. Although St Paul’s was lucky enough to have a garden where pupils could grow their own fruit and vegetables as well as a small orchard, the facilities for cooking were not much more than a small shed-style building. Following a meeting with Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Charity at the LACA Conference, PKL was introduced to head teacher Darren Rubin and heard about his vision for food at the school.
Today central to St Paul’s ‘food vision’ is a new bespoke PKL teaching kitchen installed in the school grounds which gives students access to a brand new fully equipped teaching kitchen space. Cooking has been integrated into the curriculum, with every child in the school from year one receiving two hours of dedicated cooking time every week.
“It is now normal to see children snacking on freshly prepared salads at the school gates instead of crisps or to hear children talking about how to season a dish properly. Parents have been amazed to see children eating vegetables they had previously refused. Having the dedicated PKL teaching kitchen is a real benefit as the children are able to cook in a hygienic, food safe environment that feels very professional to them too. Cooking is now a core part of our curriculum at St Paul’s and is something that means a lot to our community.” Head teacher, Darren Rubin.
St Paul’s Whitechapel CE Primary School
Food Technology Kitchen
To offer better food education and school cooking opportunities to students, based around Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project