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Work theme

Using music to limit the unpacking and preparation time at the start of a practical session works well for us. Years 7 and 8 love the Mission Impossible theme tune, which gives them three-and-a-half minutes to put out ingredients, wash hands, put an apron on and be at the front for a register. If played at optimum volume it covers all that fussing noise that winds the teacher up and focuses pupils on the task.

Older students are more difficult to please. An industrial simulation worked well at our school. We turned the design and technology block into a bakery, with personnel entrance, clocking in, cloakroom and hand wash area.

The food area became a complete production area with goods inwards, weighing, mixing, baking, finishing and packaging departments.

Year 10s were the workforce including factory manager, quality control staff and production workers. The radio was on to keep the workforce happy and the production director (food teacher) was "on site" (observing). With the production targets on the board, specifications and recording sheets we made 24 consistent Victoria sandwich cakes in an hour. The supervisor made sure each department had a tea break and issued written warnings for non-compliance with hygiene regulations.

Specifications, planning, consistency, hygiene, labelling, batch production and teamwork all in one double lesson. The plenary was exceptional with discussions on roles and jobs in industry, working life and responsibilities. A wow with students and staff alike!

Now who can help with something spectacular for Year 9?

Judith Cartwright, food technology teacher, Ridgewood High School, Stourbridge, Dudley

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