Saturday, 12 November 2011

Changing governments = changing policies

I am not going to cover the normal gripes most people have about "changing policies", however, I sometimes wonder about the thinking behind the decisions.
Back in 2008 the government started to roll out a new initiative in secondary education. The initiative was called "License to cook", and the idea behind it was that from ages 11-14 pupils would learn a variety of skills used in cooking, and make good consumable foods using these skills. I went with our food teacher to a meeting about this. And since then we have been using the recipes in the school I work in. The recipe cover basic "pizza toasts" and smoothies, up to making curries and pizzas. In other words, the full range of cooking is covered. These lessons have been very popular with the children, meaning that they are making foods they know and love for themselves.
Sounds great doesn't it, and this September the initiative was to become compulsory for all 11-14 year olds. The upshot being, no child would leave school unable to make their own meals. There were to be nationally recognised certificates at the end of each year, so that children who didn't wish to take food education any further would still have a sound basic education and certificates to prove it.
You probably think there is nothing wrong with that idea at all, and especially at a time when less and less people seem to be capable of cooking a meal for themselves, preferring to buy ready meals or takeaways. I agree, it WAS a great idea..........
That will be why the current government have decided to shut down the website, and no longer make the teaching of certain food skills in schools compulsory. At the school I work at, this isn't a problem, but in areas where the initiative never even started, those children are missing out, especially if they don't have an inspirational food teacher, like the one I am technician for.

The government have possibly contributed to health problems in the future by scrapping this scheme.
There is no active link, to the recipes etc any more. Oliver took a copy of the disc I had been given, with him to university, and managed to self-cater for himself throughout his Masters, and when he was at the school I work at he cooked four times, in two years, making very unappetising dishes (It was a different teacher then)

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