November 29 saw the launch on a brand-new programme ‘Fish in School Hero’ to ensure that every child gets a chance to prepare, cook and eat fish before they leave school. The programme aims to train over 400 secondary food teachers to be confident in preparing and cooking fish with students in their classrooms. Teachers will be supported by local Heroes: fishmongers, fish-loving chefs and fish suppliers, as well as other Heroes who will be coming into schools to talk first-hand about their role in bringing seafood from the sea to the plate, highlighting careers and opportunities in the fish industry.
Supported by the Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust, Fish in School Hero is managed by the Food Teachers Centre and their volunteer team throughout the UK. Launching in East Coast schools, in 2020 and 2021 the programme will be extended throughout the UK, reaching over 60,000 pupils in three years. Louise Davies of the Food Teachers Centre highlighted just why this programme is needed:
“Our Food Teachers absolutely appreciate the support from the Fishmongers’ Company to make this dream a reality. Teachers struggle to learn fish filleting and cooking skills and need a cheap source of fish to allow cooking to happen in their classrooms. The programme will be a game changer for young people. A survey earlier in the year showed that 52% pupils rarely or never cooked fish in school. We are going to improve that dramatically. Teachers can’t wait to get started”.
The launch at Bingley Grammar School, West Yorkshire saw Year 9 and 10 Food & Nutrition and Hospitality & Catering students get hands on with fish and learn from Emma McKeating, Master Fishmonger Standard certified Advanced Fishmonger. For many students this was the first time they had touched, let alone cooked, fish.
The Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Programme Manager, Dr Eleanor Adamson, explained how important it is that young people build their confidence in handling seafood:
“Young people in the UK are eating less and less fish, missing out on the health benefits of seafood, and unaware of sustainable British food choices that are available on their doorstep. We are excited at the chance to work with the Food Teachers Centre to bring seafood straight into classrooms, and showcase the best of UK food choices”