Jason O’Rourke is the Headteacher of Washingborough Academy, a 300 place Nursery and Primary school in Lincolnshire, UK. In the ten years that he has been there, the school has gained national recognition for the curriculum it has developed which has put healthy living and food education at the forefront of children’s learning.
The school has created its own children’s kitchen, commercial kitchen, outdoor kitchen, organic vegetable gardens, heritage orchards, wood-fired pizza oven and beehives. The curriculum allows all children to cook every week and the cookery lessons are published on the academy’s own YouTube Food Channel.
The school are the only in-house school caterer to have been awarded the Soil Association’s Gold Catering Mark, are one of 19 schools in the UK to have the Food for Life Gold School Award, Jason was the winner of the Educatering School Food Plan Awards in 2016 and The Caroline Walker Trust Food Hero of The Year 2019. He was asked to be a Headteacher adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care for the government’s Childhood Obesity Plan. Washingborough Academy are also a case study school for the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan.
Jason first came across the SAPERE method of Taste Education whilst studying for his doctorate in Food Education and School Leadership. This inspired him to be the first headteacher to introduce the SAPERE method of sensory based food education into a British primary school and led to working with Bee Wilson, the acclaimed food writer, to form TastEd (www.tasteeducation.com). Jason is the UK representative on the SAPERE European Board and Washingborough Academy is the lead school in introducing the SAPERE method of Taste Education into the UK.
Jason regularly speaks nationally and internationally on how Food Education can benefit children’s health and well-being and has delivered Westminster Briefings as well as talks in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Denmark and China. He is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on School Food and the British Nutritional Foundation’s Education Working Group.