Saint Anne’s Primary School is situated in Calton, an area of considerable poverty and multiple deprivation where there are significant health issues in the community. These issues are well documented and publicised, most recently stating that Calton has the lowest male life expectancy in Scotland. The school strives to have a positive ethos based on shared values and to improve the life chances of the children through impacting on their very early years with the clear focus of influencing the rest of their lives. Considering the poor diet, crime, alcohol and drug abuse in the community it was decided that as a school we would begin to tackle the health inequalities and improve the health of both the children and the wider community by a targeted intervention of Healthy Eating and Cooking in the Curriculum. In line with Glasgow’s Single Outcome agreement Priorities 14 and 15; to improve children’s diets and to reduce the difference in life expectancy between most affluent and most disadvantaged residents we began the project ‘Come Cook With Us’. As part of an annual “Health Week”, the school registered with the national ‘Focus on Food’ Campaign and arranged for a visit from ‘the Cooking Bus’. The children learned about different foods and how to prepare and cook them. The school received a large set of cookery equipment and purchased halogen hobs to allow staff to develop cooking in the curriculum. Cookery is now part of the school’s extensive Golden Time programme which is based on teaching the children life skills. Groups of children work to learn hygiene, food preparation and basic cookery skills. They prepare and cook food and then take it home to share with their family. They can follow and design recipes and are encouraged to cook with their family at home. The children are highly motivated and enthusiastic during cookery sessions and many now cook at home. Building on this success and to engage in the wider community the school involved the Health Development Officer and the Community Dietician to assist in the development of an after school parent and child cookery class which included food labelling and healthy eating. The class is run by teaching staff and parents and children help to plan the sessions by suggesting the dishes they would like to cook. The initiative has been successful in improving the diet of a significant number of children by giving them and their parents new skills. In addition, it has helped to improve family relationships and has promoted the importance of enjoying a meal together as a family. There is a waiting list of parents and children who wish to join this popular class and the school has just secured funding to extend this provision this session. This will include the development of an outside garden where parents and children will grow vegetables and soft fruits which will be used in cookery activities.
Download the application form: COME COOK WITH US!