The special school that I volunteer at for a number of months has been operating a cafe “The Bakery” on Friday mornings. It is a project run by the staff and students of the sixth form. I have been lucky enough to be a customer at The Bakery and I have to say they produce the best scones I have ever eaten – and my local town has a world famous tea shop (Bettys).
The atmosphere is fantastic, the students welcome you, show you to a table and give you the menu and then come back to take the order. The students are very smartly dressed in dark green cotton aprons embroidered with The Bakery, and each has their own role. Over the course of the term each student will get a turn at being a greeter, waitress/waiter, food handler, table clearer, a washer upper and working the till. They take their role extremely seriously . They work well together as a team and are very good at telling each other what they should be doing!
The Bakery has good regular customers: residents of the care home next door; other classes in the school; parents of the students and friends of the school.
To make The Bakery work, the staff come in early on a Friday and bake the first batch of flapjack, scones and shortbread. Then once the students have arrived the second batch is prepared – All the students join in wearing disposable aprons and hairnets. They sit in their sixth form tutor groups and busily prepare the produce. One week I arrived too early and was able to witness the baking. It was amazing to see everyone busy working purposefully together.
I was lucky enough to be able to buy take away bags of scones and flapjack for my family who fell on them exclaiming, “Oh good, these are from The Bakery.” Within minutes they were just crumbs on the plate.
Not only does the school raise money each week but it is throwing open its doors to the local community and giving the students valuable work experience. I have no idea if this sort of thing is standard good practice in special sixth form colleges but I feel privileged to be able to participate in the venture (and to partake in the produce!)