Matt goes to Highshore School

Just Hospitality offers all their employees a “Volunteer Day off’ to volunteer at a charity of their choice. Matt Byne, our Director of Food, spends his at Highshore School

Many of our colleagues have taken these days for a range of charities close to their hearts - whether it is to cook Christmas meals or assist with teaching at schools. Matt chose to spend his day at Highshore School. They help children with complex educational needs and provide them with the skills and opportunities needed to progress to employment. The range of activities they get the kids involved in to build their confidence is simply, amazing. Matt has been working with students from the school when they come in for their work experience days, it was but natural, he chose to spend the day there and we've got him share it with us here.

I kicked off my New Year by taking the opportunity to use my voluntary charity day at Highshore School. We have a close working relationship with Highshore as we have students from there visit us once a week as part of our collaborative work experience programme.

I had been given my timetable prior to my visit and was very much looking forward to my day. Me being a chef, it was only fitting that after being welcomed to all the staff in the daily teachers briefing, I headed straight into a double lesson of food tech! The lesson involved preparing a simple soup from scratch as well as the students tasting it and documenting what they could improve on or do differently next time.

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I then headed into an Enterprise workshop where I helped students make handmade paper from egg box pulp, studded with wildflower seeds. After being dried they would be cut out and fixed to greeting cards in readiness to be sold. Funds from the sale of these cards are invested back into the school.

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I ended my morning by helping in a Humanities class where the children were starting their new term learning all about rivers.

After lunch, I was involved in creating a band in the music room!! After watching a clip from the film ‘School of Rock’, Gary, the music teacher assembled our band in readiness to play Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple!! All the children were given different instruments to play and a lesson on how to play the intro. There was however one instrument missing from the line up….. that was until I was handed a bass guitar! All together I thought we sounded pretty good but Alfie, one of the students, said it sounded like a “train crash”!!!!

I ended my day with a Play Skills session. This class gives students the opportunity to discuss topics such as different career roles. The idea is to encourage discussion, role playing and to express their viewpoints without fear. After speaking with Earl, the class teacher, he said that several students in this class alone had grown in confidence since it had been added to the curriculum.

The whole day was brilliantly organised and I got a real feel for what life is like at Highshore. It is an excellently run facility that feels more like home than a school. I’ve no doubt this is largely due to the  teaching staff taking the time to really interact with the students.

I am going to be championing my visit to Highshore within JH and will be strongly recommending other staff members to take the opportunity to pay a visit.

Highshore School is doing great work in equipping young students develop vital life skills. If you'd like to know more about the school or explore opportunities to help, please write to Nick Clark here