Catering Heads Join Forces to raise GCSE Maths and English Results on a National Level

Maths and English are used in the professional kitchen every day, but many students on catering and hospitality courses have yet to pass their GCSE in order to gain their Further Education College qualification.  University College Birmingham Dean of the College of Food and Hospitality Management, Neil Rippington is launching a national initiative in association with national Chef Networking organisation, The Chefs’ Forum to secure rewards for students who meet a range of positive criteria over the course of the year, specifically in English and Maths.

Neil Rippington has engineered the following incentive-based performance reward system to motivate and incentivise students to give it their best shot in terms of ensuring students attend Maths and English lessons and promote the virtues of achieving in these subject areas.

Speaking of the initiative, Neil said

“One of the University’s primary targets for student achievement this year is to improve maths and English results. This is a national issue and a condition of funding for FE students who have not achieved a 4 or above (or old-school C) at GCSE. As well as their vocational course option (e.g. chef/hospitality), students also have to continue to study English or maths if they were unable to secure the appropriate grades whilst at school. The current benchmarks (for the achievement of 4 or above) for students retaking maths and English in FE colleges is in the low 20% region”. 

Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum added:

“Drawing on the national reach of The Chefs’ Forum, with over 5000 chef members and a network of over 15 top catering colleges and their respective Principals and Heads of School, it would be amazing if this rewards incentive for Maths and English really made a difference this year – I am delighted to have worked with Neil to gain the support of The Manchester College, Gloucestershire College, Coleg Gwent, West London College and Cornwall College – A great national spread and focus group for potential national roll-out if successful this year.”

The Chefs’ Forum has secured some fantastic employers to back the initiative, all offering experiential rewards this January to students meeting positive criteria for attendance and engagement in their Maths and English lessons over the course of this year

Employers have offered lunch, afternoon tea or dinner for fifteen students at a time, which is extremely generous and inclusive to whole classes, if all students make a concerted effort to meet the criteria.

A pass in English and Maths is essential for students to gain their catering or hospitality qualification at the end of their course. Making maths and English fun and showing students how they are used in everyday professional lives is exactly how to engage and motivate a group of students who have failed the exams in school for one reason or another.

Restaurant James Martin in Manchester is backing this ground-breaking campaign along with Marriott, The Exchange and Giovannis in Cardiff, Edgbaston Boutique Hotel, Fazenda and Entouraj in Birmingham, Calcot Manor in Tetbury and The Dorchester in London as well as Mullion Cove and St Michaels Hotel and Spa in Cornwall.

It is imperative that industry professionals support the education sector to encourage students to attend their GCSE maths and English lessons, on time and with the right attitude to learning to ensure they’re in with the best possible chance of gaining a pass at the end of the year.  There is a huge shortfall of chefs and hospitality professionals and in bolstering this kind of support, employers are wholly supporting the next generation when it counts the most; at the start of their careers, whilst still in education.

This campaign has launched in Birmingham at UCB and will be rolled-out via The Chefs’ Forum Academy in London (West London College), Birmingham (UCB), Manchester (The Manchester College), Gloucestershire (Gloucestershire College), South Wales (Coleg Gwent) and Cornwall (Cornwall College).

The Chefs’ Forum is still looking for further employers to offer a lunch or afternoon tea for a group of fifteen students this January and again after term two, to ensure students’ optimum performance throughout the year.

This is a great partnership between education providers and the industry.  Hospitality employers should be seen as sponsors and supporters of the initiative. It is fantastic that The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation is involved in helping the education sector to overcome a very challenging position.