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St Joseph's Specialist School and College


School blog

  • Roast Dinner Day


    At St Joseph's Specialist School and College we were delighted to invite Maria Landy, our School Improvement Advisor, many of our volunteers who come in to school to help on a regular basis and of course our wonderful community gardeners who work alongside us on our allotments. In total we satisfied 150 enthusiastic visitors as well as our 71 learners. Locally sourced, organic beef, vegetables (some from our garden) and dairy products were used. Sophie, our Work Experience Trainee from our KS 5 class made her favourite Cheesy Courgette Sausages from our FFL cookbook. The apple crumble was packed with apples from our orchard and everyone agreed that it was just the thing for a wild, wet and windy autumn day. Many thanks to Alison and her wonderful team in the kitchen.

  • Farm Visits at St Joseph's


    Here at St Joseph's we are lucky enough to have our own resident farmer, who is a TA here in on of the classes. Helen Van Mol has a small farm, which is local to the school. On the farm there are a sheep, pigs, horses and chickens. On our recent trips to the farms, learners have enjoyed feeding the lambs, putting out hay for the animals and collecting the eggs. By getting involved with the practical side of farming, the learners are developing skills on how to look after the different animals and listen carefully to instructions. Learners also know how important it is to stay safe on the farm and are developing their understanding of how to stay safe on the farm.

  • Fun at the Festival!!


    This week we are continuing to celebrate our road to Gold award by celebrating with St Joseph's Festival. This year the theme for the day is health and wellbeing. The day will be started with sports in the morning, followed by stalls, a fashion show and drama production in the afternoon.

    We are all looking forward to the day, and we are hoping we have many visitors from other schools, the community and families.

    Keep an eye on our blogs to find out about how the day went!

  • Haydn and Liam's Healthy Tuck Shop


    Our SNAG is delighted to have the opportunity of this blog to congratulate two of our learners for setting up a tuck shop and selling healthy snacks and drinks to staff and learners.  "Haydn and Liam's Healthy Tuck Shop" was the brain child of Haydn Fennessey and Liam Mooney, two Key Stage 5 learners.  They opened for business last week and their tuck shop was a resounding success.  Having completed a business plan, they circulated a questionairre to identify popular snacks to sell.  Then, with a small business loan from SNAG and the support of Alison Kendall, our school cook and Vicky Brazier, her assistant, they chose recipes and compiled a shopping list.  With the support of their care staff, they bought the ingredients, and then came back to school to bake fruit flapjacks, banana loaf and fruit muffins with Alison and Vicky.  They also made popcorn, and sold cold water bottles, fruit and rice cakes.  They sold out of their stock and had some very happy customers!  Hadyn and Liam undoubtedly have an entrepreneurial flair and they are keen to promote healthy eating around the school.

  • An introduction to St Joseph's Specialist School & College


    As first time, rather belated bloggers, we are a little nervous …. Where do we start?

    Well, let’s start at the beginning – who are we?  St Joseph’s Specialist School & College is a special needs school in Surrey providing personalised education, therapies and care to 77 learners.  A third of the learners are residential, some weekly and some termly.  They are between the ages of 7 and 19 years old and the majority are on the autistic spectrum.  All our learners have a variety of complex learning difficulties and challenging behaviours.

    Within the context of the Food for Life Partnership, St Joseph’s received their Silver Award in November 2008 from Prince Charles.  We are honoured to be a flagship school and proud to be featured in the FFLP promotional DVD.  Now, we are working hard to be the first special school in the country to receive the Gold award.  We hope to do this by the end of July 2010.  So from now on, we will be blogging to report our progress …

    At St Joseph’s, all the staff, whether education, inclusion, care, catering, administration, gardening, domestic and maintenance, are dedicated to providing the very best for our learners - and this includes food!!

    Food is an integral part of our daily lives at St Josephs; it appears throughout the waking day curriculum – cooking lessons, gardening lesson, daily living skills, cooking and gardening clubs, shopping for and preparing meals in care, work experience in our kitchen and garden.  Cooking and gardening often preferred activities and so can be used very effectively to motivate and engage our learners.  All the educational activities that relate to Food for Life and are orchestrated by Emma Ruby, our wonderful food tech, science and DT teacher – Emma is also a class tutor!  Emma took over this role in September 2009 from Melanie Gray who had spearheaded the original campaign and lead the school to achieve their Silver Award – the school owes Melanie a great debt of gratitude for setting up such a firm foundation here for Food for Life.

    Our kitchen is a focal point of our daily life and is run brilliantly by our cook, Alison Kendal.  She has been instrumental in the school’s achievements to date and is now working flat out to achieve our Gold Award.  She and her team love nothing more than buying produce grown in our kitchen garden by our learners, and then cooking with it for lunch.  All our learners have a daily cooked school lunch as do the majority of our staff.

    At St Joseph’s, our grounds are unique; they are not only extensive but also beautiful.  We have Mick Nicholls to thank for this.  He and his team work tirelessly to maintain the mature gardens and lawns, as well as an abundant kitchen garden, a large greenhouse and polytunnels.  Mick is very involved in the supporting the teaching of horticulture at St Joseph’s and he has been an inspiration throughout our Food for Life journey to both staff and learners.

    Our horticulture teacher, Sarah Maxted, teaches across all key stages and has an unerring ability to make gardening and growing vegetables relevant, absorbing and fun to all our learners, however complex their needs.

    We have lucky enough to have had two visits from the FFLP.   On 15th March, Liz Rushton, from Focus on Food, came to see us to discuss the Food Education aspect of the gold Award.  Liz was our teacher on the cooking bus; the whole school has such wonderful memories of the bus and it was great to see her again.  On the bus, Liz taught us a great deal about how to teach healthy cooking and eating, and on her visit she gave us lots of advice and suggestions for our Food for Life event in the summer.

    On 23rd March, Jeanette Orrey, the FFLP Policy Adviser and Caroline Chambers, the South-East FFLP co-ordinator, came to discuss Food Leadership and Food Quality and Provenance, two other elements for achieving Gold.  Both of them enjoyed the delicious lunch Alison served and joining in the lunchtime session.  Several learners choose to join them on their table.  Having the opportunity to meet Jeannette and show her around our school was a great privilege, and, as ever, Caroline’s knowledge and enthusiasm encourages us to work ever harder.

    Both visits were a wonderful affirmation of our work at St Joseph’s and our progress towards the Gold Award.

    Earlier this term, a South Korean television production company, EBS (Educational Broadcasting Services) came to film a documentary series featuring unique schools around with world. The theme of one documentary was ‘School Food’ and, as a flagship school working towards the FFLP Gold Award, EBS identified St Joseph’s as a school with an excellent healthy eating ethos, and an exceptional track record for teaching cooking and horticulture.  A television crew of three came for a day’s filming and the learners responded wonderfully to having new people to show their work to.

    We hope this gives some insight into our school – now, we have started, we will blog again on a weekly basis.

    If anyone has any queries they think we could help with, email us and we will give whatever support we can.  

The Food for Life Partnership is a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture. Together we are revolutionising school meals, reconnecting children and young people with where their food comes from, and inspiring families to grow and cook food.

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