Jamie Oliver’s School

Criticize the education system long enough and someone will say, “If you think it’s so bad, do it better yourself.”

That seems to be what has happened with Jamie Oliver. First, the UK series on British school food, setting up Ministries of Food in a handful of British cities, then an American series, an finally talk in the press that Jamie is planning a new series about opening a school to teach life skills.

He famously suffers from dyslexia and did poorly in school until he went to a catering school. The idea is to help kids 16-19 who have suffered from dyslexia or have been bullied. The details are still sketchy though press reports say Jamie’s production company is already seeking applicants and filming could start this summer, according to The Daily Mail.

The paper says that:

Oliver has already devised a cooking course for secondary school pupils worth half a GCSE at grade B. Youngsters are taught to prepare healthy meals as well as basic skills such as equipping a kitchen and saving money on food bills. The qualification – accredited by the Edexcel exam board – will be taught over 60 hours and comprises two parts – one covering the basics of preparing a nutritious meal and the second developing a cooking repertoire.

A school set up for a reality TV show will test the limits of stereotyping for the camera. It is conceivable that kids would sign up for the school because they are after the celebrity it entails, not the education they will receive. Mixing celebrity in with troubled kids seems fraught with problems, and likely to cause more. Using celebrity to focus national attention on the problems of education is, however, a good thing.

(Image from The Daily Mail)

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