Head makes war on watery staffroom tea

4th August 2006 at 01:00
When Michael Jee was served weak, lukewarm tea in a chipped old mug, he knew he had to make changes in his school.

Like all new heads he was keen to stamp his identity on the school, so he bought a china tea set and began teaching staff the art of brewing the perfect cuppa.

Mr Jee, head of Aldrington primary in Hove, East Sussex, said: "It's about good manners and doing things properly. I am a bit of a tea addict and simply dunking a teabag in a mug of tepid water just doesn't cut it."

So keen is he on creating the perfect brew, that he is calling for the great British tradition of tea-making to be taught as part of the national curriculum.

"Sometimes when children come to see me and they are a bit upset or distressed they tell me they would like a nice cup of tea. It's something very grown-up and special to them and after all, it is something adults drink to relax.

"Teaching them to make a cup of tea with all the health and safety issues of boiling water is no different to teaching them to cook using an oven.

There are too many rules and regulations for schools and there comes a point where you do the children a disservice if you never do anything involving a bit of danger."

Mr Jee, who regularly serves afternoon tea to staff, said: "I had to compromise on teabags rather than leaves and having mugs instead of cups and saucers - but I think the staff really appreciate the difference a decent cup of tea makes."

A spokeswoman for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said: "The national curriculum is very flexible and while teachers must cover certain topics there is nothing to stop them teaching other things if they think they are important."

She said the curriculum was not prescriptive enough to include particular tasks such as making a cup of tea.

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