Retired Angus teacher calls for cookery lessons for all pupils

Brechin Community Campus
Brechin Community Campus

A former Angus home economics teacher is calling for pupils to be taught how to cook throughout secondary school and not just in their first few years.

Hilda Kerr, retired home economics teacher, who taught at Montrose Academy, claims that only one of the two home economics rooms in the new Brechin High School campus is being utilised.

Mrs Kerr said she has been speaking to staff at the school and parents, as well as others across Angus and the Mearns, who have expressed concerns to her.

She said this highlights a Scotland wide issue where students aren’t being taught how to cook, as well as a shortage in home economics teachers and a lack of facilities to train teachers in the subject.

Angus Council confirmed there is only one home economics teacher currently employed at the Brechin High School Community Campus, which opened in February and cost £26.5 million.

Mrs Kerr said: “We have a new school, which has just been built, with two home economics rooms and only one is being used. It is such a shame.

“We have missed a generation who haven’t clicked or didn’t want to click on to cooking. The next generation need to be taught how to cook in school. It is up to the schools to teach them. It is about going back to basics.

“Forty minutes is what pupils are allowed to cook in. What can you cook in 40 minutes? By the time they have washed their hands, got aprons on, got to their station in the department and got the dishes out there is not much time left and then they have to clean up at the end. It is impossible.

“The pupils won’t enjoy the class because they will feel rushed. It definitely needs to be a double period.

“We have a new education secretary, Mr Swinney, and we should be lobbying him and the government so they are aware of the shortage of teachers and classes being taught.”

Angus Council confirmed at present, S1 to 3 pupils at Brechin High receive one period of home economics each week, however after that as students are picking subjects for their highers it seems it is not a desirable lesson choice.

A council spokesman said: “Due to low pupil uptake we currently have one member of staff delivering the home economics courses. We hope that through the commitment and dedication of our staff and the new facilities at Brechin Community Campus we can help encourage young people to engage more with this subject and increase our commitment to this resource in the near future.”