Trainee and Newly Qualified Teachers Benefit from Cooking Masterclass

Fish masterclass 1
Simon Gray delivering the fish masterclass

The workshop, laid on specially at the University as part of a national scheme, was designed to give budding and newly qualified Food teachers greater confidence in preparing such dishes and pass those skills to their pupils. It is the first university to collaborate on the scheme.

Senior Lecturer in PGCE Design & Technology (Food), Sue Parker-Morris, said: “The more experience and opportunities we can provide our trainees with modelling classroom practice, the more enhanced their knowledge, making them stand out to future employers. In addition, the more complex skills they can teach their pupils, the better chance these pupils have of accessing the higher GCSE grades.”

The session involved the University’s PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) Secondary Design & Technology (Food) trainees, early career teachers that recently completed their PGCE training at the University and teachers who support students on placement at the University’s partnership schools.

Under the instruction of Simon Gray, Senior Associate at the Food Teachers Centre, participants produced a number of fish dishes and were taught skinning and filleting of fish, knife skills, sauce making and safety when preparing shellfish. Participants also looked at sustainability, testing for freshness and nutritional benefits of fish. All the skills are linked with the GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition qualification and are part of Year 11 coursework.

The session was part of the Fish in Schools Hero programme run by the Food Teachers Centre, a platform for secondary school teachers, and funded by the Fishmongers Company Charitable Trust. The Fish programme runs teacher training sessions and student masterclasses across the country. The University linked up with the programme through Mr Gray, who did his Food teacher training at the University 20 years ago.

Mr Gray said: “It is important that young people have the opportunity to learn to prepare, cook and eat fish both from a life skills point of view and more importantly to promote the health benefits of fish consumption.”

Lecturers hope to make this an annual workshop. Mrs Parker-Morris said: “This opportunity allows the University to provide continued professional development, not just for the PGCE trainees but early career teachers who the university continue to support in their teaching journey even after they have finished the course.”

Current PGCE Design & Technology (Food) student, Chris Vint, said: “Even as an experienced chef when I started out in my teaching career, I found Simon's fish masterclass incredibly beneficial for my future teaching practice. Giving students the opportunity to prepare, cook and taste fish is a valuable life experience and one that I will certainly include within my scheme of work.”

Amy Ferris, a current PGCE Secondary in Design and Technology (Food), said: “It was an invaluable experience that has enriched my skills, allowing me to implement these in my early teaching practice.”

Bethany Lewis, who finished a PGCE Secondary in Design and Technology (Food) last summer, now teaches at Pershore High School, but returned for the session. She said: “It was a valuable opportunity to learn and refresh skills. The Masterclass not only gave us opportunity to fillet and skin fish, but practise finishing and presentation skills that are important for GCSE students’ exams and coursework. I would definitely like to use the skills with my students.”