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I am thinking about starting a childrens' after school cookery class...any advice?

(62 Posts)
bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 19:19:06

As the header says...I have been mulling this over for a few weeks/months and think it could work, other than the fact I have no business experience, no skills to create a website and can't find much info on the net as to what I would need to do beforehand.
Wondered if there's anyone who could offer some pointers.
I am dbs checked ( work as a ta in a primary school), love cooking and watching kids cook. My daughter loves to help me cook which is where the idea came from.
I live in an area where I am 95% sure there would be regular demand...and there's no one else offering this locally that I have found.
I believe I would need a food hygiene level 2 certificate and public liability insurance.
I was thinking of potentially two age groups to begin with, 7-9 and 9-11, with the sessions running term time for an hour and a half. Any advice on what to charge? Equipment and ingredients would be provided. It would be run from my kitchen at home. There is plenty of space for 4, maybe 5 children to work around the island.
I would do mainly savoury, with some sweet things.
Other questions...
Do I need a hygiene rating and any ideas how I would go about doing that? Google has not been my friend for research purposes.
Would I need to register the business somewhere? Do I need a business bank account or just a separate personal account?
If there's anyone out there who could offer any advice, big or small, it would be appreciated.
Many thanks, if you managed to get to the end of that ramble!

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scarecrowfeet Mon 04-Nov-19 19:22:08

You need info for kids with allergies and special diets.

BackwardsGoing Mon 04-Nov-19 19:26:20

It's a great idea.

My DD does cookery club at her school. It's 1.5 hours a week, £7.50 per session and she comes out with dinner that we all share. She's 11 but there are kids up to 14/15 in other sessions.

bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 19:41:34

Thanks. I'm torn between feeling slightly sick and nervous by excited at the same time.
scarecrowfeet this did cross my mind as my daughter's friend has a mild nut allergy. Do you know if there official requirements out there I would need to meet or just arm myself personally with info from each child as they join up?

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bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 19:43:32

backwardsgoing £7.50 for an hour and a half seems very too reasonable shock

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Hundredacrewoods Mon 04-Nov-19 19:46:14

Great idea! Would you have enough oven/stove space for all the kids to cook at the same time?

Spied Mon 04-Nov-19 19:57:34

What if a child didn't turn up one week but ingredients etc had already been bought?
Presume parents would have to pay upfront. What If they wanted their money back?
What if certain children weren't well behaved?
Do you provide containers etc to bring food home?
What if there was an emergency and say, a child burnt themselves and needed a&e? What would the other children do, and who would stay with them if you had to leave immediately and couldn't get hold of parents?
I don't mean to put a downer on things just asking.

bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 20:04:36

All fab questions spied, thank you! Will get kids in bed then come back to ponder those!

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bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 20:06:42

hundredacres yes, I have 2 ovens and if I go ahead would probably get the ikea portable single induction hobs after seeing if the business is a goer. Yes to enough 'station' space.

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Pahoehoe Mon 04-Nov-19 20:07:20

I think you’d need to charge for a ‘term’ in advance. I pay for my daughters drama classes per term whether she shows up or not. That way you cover your own costs even if kids can’t make it for whatever reason.

DoYouRememberTheInnMiranda Mon 04-Nov-19 20:08:22

Will there be down time when food is in the oven? I've been to two cooking classes with my toddler (so obviously a different age group!) and one did brilliant healthy eating stories, taste testing veg games etc while the food was baking, the other got out play dough each week. I much preferred the first.

bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 20:39:21

pahoehoe yes I think I would offer half termly blocks, payable in advance.

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bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 20:42:20

doyouremember...funnily enough, as I was doing dinner tonight, I did wonder about down time. Wondered about doing some quiz type questions, possibly do some food tasting. Or they could spend that time writing out the recipe and method and having a drink and washing up!!

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Fantasisa Mon 04-Nov-19 20:47:00

This is a great idea and somewhere near us does it during the holidays but it is £££ so I haven't sent the DC. They theme their cooking sessions - pasta, baking, sushi etc which I think is good. I'd definitely pay for my DC to attend if it was reasonable and a life skill.

elephantoverthehill Mon 04-Nov-19 20:52:55

Could you contact a local secondary school and use their Food Tech kitchen? Each child could then have their own work space, cooker and plenty of equipment.

bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 20:56:00


What if a child didn't turn up one week but ingredients etc had already been bought?

I would get my daughter to cook whatever we were doing after they had gone so as to not waste the food...or use those ingredients as a demo I would guess...

Presume parents would have to pay upfront. What If they wanted their money back?

Yes I think I would offer half termly courses, payable in advance, with refund at my discretion. No to sniffles, yes to broken arm...that sort of thing.

What if certain children weren't well behaved?

grin I am a qualified teacher, taught yr 5 before kids and and currently a TA. Fairly used to challenging behaviour. If someone's behaviour was extreme, it would be a warning week then no more. I would probably offer a refund of the missed classes to get rid. In all my years in school, I have only come across one child who I can see this scenario being realistic. Minor challenging behaviour I can deal with.

Do you provide containers etc to bring food home?

Hmmmmm good question. I think I would potentially ask for containers to be brought with I'm presuming I would have prepared a menu thing so parents know what's coming up. I dont really want to add to the throwaway container bit and if I do end up doing several classes per week...that's a lot of containers to provide.

What if there was an emergency and say, a child burnt themselves and needed a&e?
What would the other children do, and who would stay with them if you had to leave immediately and couldn't get hold of parents?

This has me slightly stumped!! I need to try to work out what I could do in this scenario!!!

I don't mean to put a downer on things just asking.

Not a downer at all....all very helpful questions that had made me think.

Really, really appreciate all these snippets of advice, questions, etc. Thank you so much smile

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bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 20:59:05

* fantasia* thanks! Just for market research purposes what do you consider too £££ to make it worth your while? If you don't mind me asking that.
Yes I like the theme idea. I really would be aiming at developing skills and a healthy eating habit.

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SNmum101 Mon 04-Nov-19 21:00:32

My son did a couple of terms cooking club (primary school). Class of 20, one teacher and one assistant, age 4-11.

We paid termly in advance. One hour session, all low sugar / healthy recipes like soup; scones; pasta salad; rice and veg; samosa; baked apples.

From what I gather, most of the time was spent tasting / stirring, or watching the adults, and they worked in pairs.

If doing class from home, be wary that the kids may not show up at the same time, or be collected promptly. You’ll also probably need special insurance, and to meet more health and safety / business regulations.

Could you not trial the idea in a local school, maybe on volunteer basis for first few sessions to see what works?

BikeRunSki Mon 04-Nov-19 21:01:36

I’d love this, but I’d love it even more if you could either run it in schools, or pick my dc up!

bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 21:03:37

elephant that's a great idea....but it's the ease and convenience of working from home that appeals. My kids can hang out elsewhere...don't have to worry about sorting them out, if that makes sense.
I would only be looking at small groups, mainly as I can give more attention to each child then, 5 kids max but possibly only 4. I have plenty of space and I reckon a trip to ikea will sort me on the equipment front.

I think I will probably ask my friends if I can use their kids as guinea pigs ( for free) so I can iron out any further details. Can't see this happening before the new year but want to be totally and completely prepared before I really commit.

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LadyMonicaBaddingham Mon 04-Nov-19 21:04:15

You will need a DBS. Have you looked in to this at all?

If you are planning to hold these classes at home (or anywhere else, frankly) you will also need a hygiene/food safety certificate from your local council, I believe. Best contact them before you make any further plans

LadyMonicaBaddingham Mon 04-Nov-19 21:06:36

Because DBS aren't transferable, I mean. I have to have separate ones for my employment and for my voluntary work...

bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 21:08:38

snmum hmmmm I can't see I would enjoy that at all....its the small group factor I like as I think they would learn way more and actually develop skills. They need to be able to do the whole process themselves I think, with guidance and demos and assistance from me.
I don't really want to spend any more time in school! That's what I want to move away from!!
With regards to the regulations...this is where I am struggling to get definitive info.
Yes to public liability, food hygiene level 2 certs, dba checked, etc....not sure what other regs I would need to meet.

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leeloo1 Mon 04-Nov-19 21:10:39

My dc do a cooking club (for y1-3) through a private company, but held at their school. Its £10 pw for 1hr, payable termly. They don't cook the food in school, but bring it home in a foil, lidded container, with a recipe sheet (similar to the ones they have to take for free in Waitrose etc) which tells you how to cook/heat it. They've made cakes, biscuits, veggie burgers etc. It's probably not great value for money, but they enjoy it.

bobkate Mon 04-Nov-19 21:14:55

ladymonica I was unaware the dbs wasn't transferable but that's good to know, thanks.
As per my OP, it's something I have been mulling over as I believe there is a gap in the market here and its something i would enjoy, and hopefully be good at.
I know of some certificates, etc I would need...but was asking for advice as to whether anyone knew of any further things I need to consider/research before moving forward. Hence my posting here.
I will call the council tomorrow to see if they have any pointers.

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