22nd November 2010

Argyllshire Pupil Named Scotland’s Top Hospitality Student

An Argyllshire pupil has this week been named Scotland’s top hospitality student.

Claire Hamilton, a fifth form pupil at Dunoon Grammar School, has emerged as the country’s top student among around 6000 Scottish students taking the hospitality practical cookery Intermediate 2 course.

A record number of Scottish children are now learning about food and cooking, reversing a worrying decline in recent years, according to Graeme Findlay, Scottish Qualification Authority’s Qualifications Manager for home economics and hospitality subjects. 

Speaking at the presentation of the top student award, Mr Findlay said that over 20,000 Scottish secondary school pupils are now taking certificated home economics or hospitality classes every year – almost double that of five years ago.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of pupils developing practical cooking skills, which is a very encouraging trend that ties in well with the Government’s educational aspirations of their Food and Drink policy.

“The good news is that tomorrow’s parents will have a better understanding than the previous generation of nutrition and be able to make informed choices about their diets.”

Quality Meat Scotland, sponsor of the award, has this year launched a national project to tackle the problem of young people leaving Scottish schools without learning to cook with red meat products, due to school budget constraints.

All Scottish secondary schools are being offered up to £100 to purchase beef, pork and lamb from local butcher’s shops for use in cookery classes. Dunoon Grammar School also received a special £250 meat voucher to purchase meat for use during home economics classes in recognition of Claire’s win.

Stewart Shaw, Dunoon Grammar Head Teacher, said the school was delighted that Claire’s exceptional performance in Intermediate 2 Hospitality Practical had resulted in her emerging top student in the country.

“We are proud of Dunoon Grammar School’s 350 year history and high standards of academic and personal development have been the hallmarks. For each of our 1000 or so pupils we aim to provide a very positive and productive atmosphere for learning – both academic and practical. We place a great deal of value on ensuring our pupils leave the school well equipped for modern society and practical skills such as cookery are an extremely important part of that,” said Mr Shaw.

QMS Health and Education Coordinator, Rachael Anderson, said: “QMS is keen to promote the benefits of eating red meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet and we feel it is important to back initiatives such as this to help give the next generation the skills to make use of Scotland’s excellent produce.

“We continually hear reports that more and more kids are leaving home with little idea of how to cook which highlights the importance of encouraging Scotland’s young people to be interested in food and nutrition.”

Caption: During a presentation at the school Claire was delighted to receive the award from Chris Capaldi, the famous “Glen” of Scotch Beef advertising fame.  Also pictured are Rachael Anderson, Health and Education Coordinator, Quality Meat Scotland and Graeme Findlay, Scottish Qualification Authority’s Qualifications Manager for home economics and hospitality subjects. 

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