Sunderland’s Academy 360, which is part of the Laidlaw Schools Trust, has been handed the apron strings to present a national cookery programme that airs daily on YouTube.

The programme, which is part of Jamie Oliver’s Bite Back 2030 campaign, makes it easy and fun to eat healthily for £15 a week with the Government’s National Voucher Scheme.

Bite Back 2030 seeks to ensure that all young people have the chance to thrive and be healthy, no matter where they live.

Initially led by a chef in the Jamie Oliver Cookery School, and called ‘Cook with Jack’, the programme was launched with the generous support of the Laidlaw Foundation, which also sponsors the Newcastle-based Laidlaw Schools Trust – a multi academy trust with seven schools in the North East.

Susanna Kempe, Chief Executive of the Laidlaw Foundation, explains:  “As a result of the pandemic, the Government introduced a £15 voucher scheme to replace free school meals. But £15 for the whole week really does not go far. We wanted to be sure that children and families could enjoy healthy and tasty meals together by providing shopping lists, menus and inspiring cook-alongs.  We planned to run the programme just through the holidays but it has been such a success, and received such widespread praise that we’ve decided to continue it, building on Jack’s amazing start to involve and showcase our incredible teachers at Laidlaw Schools Trust.”

Before handing over to Jo Tissington, a food technology teacher at Academy 360, Jack had  already gained a huge following – those who are keen to see how they can rustle up five quick, tasty and affordable lunches within the £15 budget with minimal prep time and equipment, whilst meeting the requirements of the School Food Standards.

Jo is keen to keep the series interesting and students engaged.  She says: “Jack has made a brilliant start with the programmes which have been received really well and I am honoured to be given the opportunity to carry on and maintain the momentum created by his enthusiasm for cooking.”

Following requests from some of the students who said they were missing takeaways, after the first week, the programmes were themed and demonstrated how you could make ‘healthy fakeaways’ including dishes such as beef burgers, chicken goujons and vegetable kebabs. This was followed by other themes such as The Best of British and Mediterranean Meals.

The menus are created and costed with details of the ingredients required to make them and circulated to parents and students on Fridays.  Tesco has been posting the shopping lists and menus on its website too.  The ingredients are purchased over the weekend and then, by tuning in at 12 noon each day on the Bite Back 2030 YouTube Channel, you can see how it’s done.

Rachel Donohue, principal at Academy 360, added:  “We are thrilled that the team at Academy 360, has been given the chance to take over presenting the programme.  ‘Cook with Jo’, as it will now be called, is going to be a tremendous opportunity for the academy to show its support for the community.

“The Laidlaw Foundation is passionate about supporting all children to ensure they get the best possible start in life.  A healthy diet and knowing how to make the right food choices are absolutely critical so that students can create a firm foundation for their future health and are able to pass on this knowledge to others in their family and within the community.”

Some of Jo’s first meals to be aired over the next two weeks include stuffed peppers, Tex Mex eggs, how to make a cheap Calzone pizza using a wrap, lamb koftas and turkey burgers.

See the videos here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfFi2aAygn0sY-mYdw3JcEw