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Friday Night Dinner club a hit at Paxman Academy

Friday Night Dinner club a hit at Paxman Academy
December 15, 2023 Dave Gooderham

An after school cooking club inspired by a hit television sitcom has been launched to offer students the chance to make low-cost, nutritious family meals.

Students at Paxman Academy have been cooking a meal for a family of four on Friday nights which they then take home and enjoy with their parents and siblings.

The idea was the brainchild of Paxman head of school, Tom Thorpe, who wanted to use his love of cooking to show students how to make simple family meals.

Mr Thorpe said: “The idea was inspired by the Channel 4 series, Friday Night Dinner, but there is a serious message at its heart.

“As a school, and like every school across the country, we know our families have been hit by the cost of living crisis.

“So we wanted to offer our students in receipt of Pupil Premium Funding the chance to embrace a love of cooking while ensuring they and their family enjoy a nutritious dinner together at the end of the week.”


Over the last few months, students have been offered the chance to take part in the after-school club and learn how to make recipes including chickpea masala and aubergine curry.

Mr Thorpe added: “The idea to provide this little bit extra has come about due to the increased costs of food and energy meaning many families are really struggling to put food on the table some nights.

“The funding for PPG students has risen by a very small percentage since the inflation crisis and schools are increasingly finding that government funding is having to be subsidised from other budgets or staff themselves in order to keep feeding students.

“The money to pay for Friday Night Dinner is not taken from PPG funding within the school, but from our own staff.”