Flagship status feeds Todmorden High School's inspiration

FLAGSHIP status was bestowed on Todmorden High School during a surprise announcement at a national conference hosted at the school last weekend.

The school is the first in Calderdale to be selected by the new lottery-funded Food for Life Partnership to become one of 180 flagship schools and communities across England that will be recognised as national leaders on food quality and food education.

And now the school is keen to work with others to spread the news about healthy local food.

Amanda Donnelly, the partnership's regional coordinator, announced the news at the Incredible Edible Todmorden national conference, hosted by the school on Saturday.

More than 170 people from across the country attended the event, which included speeches by one of the self-sufficieny group's founding members Pam Warhurst, and a welcome by the school's headteacher, Patrick Ottley-O'Connor, as well as a number of workshops.

The partnership will help the school build on its achievements to date by putting even more fresh, local and organic food on the menu and getting pupils, and interested parents and community groups, cooking, growing food and visiting local farms.

Catering manager, Tony Mulgrew, said the award was a great achievement for the school and as the first in Calderdale to receive it he was keen to work with other schools on food-related issues.

"We are hoping to promote healthy food and lifestyles by getting other schools involved. Over the next three years we plan to host 20 school visits."

Mr Ottley-O'Connor said he was delighted with the news. "It is more important than ever before that young people learn in school about the impact of food on their health and that of the planet.

"By becoming a flagship school we want to inspire, rather than cajole, our young people to eat a healthy, climate-friendly diet by giving them an opportunity to see how food is produced and to cook and grow their own."

Ms Donnelly said the school had been selected as a flagship school because of everyone's commitment to giving food the priority it deserves.

- An account of the IET conference will be in next week's Todmorden News.