This year 97 pupils have signed up for the weekly club where they bake everything from brownies and scones to paprika and thyme fish to soda bread.

Cooking, as well as being a valuable practical skill is also important in maintaining wellbeing. According to a study, published in the Journal of Positive Psychology (2016), people who frequently do small, creative projects feel more relaxed and happier in their everyday lives.

Here are four reasons why the cookery club is such an important part of Wycliffe’s extensive pastoral care:

1. Self-esteem

Producing a dish with little or no adult input can give a young person a sense of pride and achievement. Creating something quickly – the focus is to create something in an hour – provides the young cook with quick results and immediate feedback from their peers.

It’s good to share experiences with a wider group of people. It is also nice to do something at the end of the day that is not academic as a way to relax!

Eliza (Year 9)
wycliffe pupil with bake off winner
pupil cooking at cooking club at wycliffe independent school

2. Creativity

Cooking is a highly creative activity, which uses all the senses simultaneously. At the club pupils have produced purple scones (Wycliffe’s brand colour) and often improvise with the ingredients.

I’m not sure how the purple came about, we just wanted to see what would happen, so we added a bit, but they came out much more purple than we were expecting, but came out great!

Poppy, one of the pupils in the club.

3. Problem-solving

Cookery doesn’t always go to plan, especially if you haven’t followed the recipe properly. It encourages pupils to follow directions in the recipe and learn what to do when it goes wrong. Some children are afraid of failure, so making small mistakes in a situation where there won’t be negative consequences is beneficial for building resilience.

4. Relationship building

The cookery club is held in the Houses and can bring pupils together, regardless of their year. Cooking promotes a shared sense of achievement. It is also an enjoyable way to learn about different cultures and pupils and staff are encouraged to share their recipes and that about the cultural traditions.

The club is good for my well-being because it is nice to socialise and have fun with my peers and relaxing to cook.

Lily (Year 10)

While the excitement of The Great British Bake Off finals ends in November, there is still the hotly contested Wycliffe Bake Off to look forward to. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Wycliffe Bake Off will be staged over three terms. Two finalists from each group will go on to compete head-to-head for the Bake Off title in the Summer Term 2021.

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