What is KCS?
The Kids’ Cookery School is a cookery school for children and young people aged 3 years upwards which has charitable status. We believe that all children should have the opportunity to learn to cook and eat healthy food so that they can make good food choices and look forward to a healthier future.
At KCS, students learn to cook healthy and delicious dishes from fresh ingredients, learning in an environment which is challenging, supportive and inspiring.
Being a registered charity enables us to offer our activities to children and young people in need for free or at a subsidised rate.
How did it start?
KCS founded in 1995 by Fiona Hamilton-Fairley and after turning the organisation into a Registered Charity, she raised funds to build purpose-designed teaching kitchens on rented premises in Acton, West London. Since opening in April 2000, KCS has taught over 33,000 children, young people and families how to cook and eat healthy food.
Who do we teach?
Students are referred to KCS by schools (primary, secondary and special), community groups and specialist children’s services. We have taught groups from: the National Autustic Society, several respite centres for children with special needs and holiday clubs and youth groups, young carers’ support groups and children referred from youth inclusion and youth offending teams.
Over the last 2-3 years, our statistics show:
- 40% were from black, minority ethnic and refugee groups
- 35% had special needs (physical, behavioural, emotional or learning difficulties). KCS welcomes students with special needs. Our premises are fully wheelchair accessible.
- 60% attended on a free or assisted basis. During school holidays, we hold open sessions for all children and have a subsidised fee structure to enable children from families who rely on income support benefits to access cookery classes.
How do they benefit?
We believe that all children should have the opportunity to learn to cook, because it has health, social and educations benefits.
Health: students learn about the benefits of eating a balanced diet. Children cook dishes which are healthy and delicious.
Social: children work in teams which can build their confidence and communication skills.
Educational: the staff/students ratio is very high; the atmosphere is fun, challenging and inspiring.
How do we know it works?
At KCS, we can observe the progress of students and see their enjoyment of the activities. We welcome feedback from students, schools and parents to make sure that we can improve and maintain excellent standards of teaching and care. We have recently completed a commissioned programme with Wandsworth PCT/NHS; visiting a number of schools and children's centres in the Wandsworth borough. A thorough evaluation of both the children's and parents experiences were completed both at the start and end of the programme in order to evaluate individual progress. This included evaluating progression in the understanding of healthy eating, knowledge of the food groups, as well as personal and skill development.