There’s something very fishy going on in Kelso’s schools

Kelso HighSchool pupils enjoying Seafood in Schools
Kelso HighSchool pupils enjoying Seafood in Schools

Kelso pupils savoured a treat this week when the Seafood in Schools team brought their roadshow to town.

More than 200 youngsters from Kelso High and local primaries’ P6 classes attended three workshops to learn where seafood comes from, how it gets to their plates, and why eating seafood is an important part of a healthy diet.

The first session, run by Seafood in Schools coordinator Ruathy Donald, used specially-designed infographic charts to follow the journey taken by different species from sea to plate.

Pupils were also be able to see and handle a variety of fresh and live species, including crab, lobster, langoustine, cod, haddock, monkfish, squid and more.

The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation provided a donation of salmon which were left for the home economics department following the workshops.

At the Borders Countryside Day hosted by the Border Union Agricultural Society in May, head teacher Jill Lothian was impressed by the programme and invited Seafood in Schools to host workshops at Kelso High.

Jill said: “I was inspired when I saw the enthusiasm that children expressed for seafood at the Countryside Day and welcome further engagement with our pupils.”

Catriona Frankitti, from Fish for Health, delivered her popular ‘Come Dine with Cat’ workshop at which pupils learned about the benefits of exercise and a diet high in Omega 3, also known as a ‘super fish oil’. They also tasted samples of ‘ready-to-eat’ oil-rich fish supplied by local fishmonger D. R. Collin of Kelso.

“Our partners are very generous with their fish for sampling, and we always identify the provenance to enable parents to seek it out in store,” said Catriona. “It’s really exciting watching the expressions on children’s faces when they try something they have never eaten before, then getting a big smile and a ‘thumbs up’,” she added. “We have had so many comments from parents thanking us for getting their children into seafood.”

Alan Frost, a freelance chef and regular contributor to the Seafood in Schools programme, demonstrated some simple recipes using haddock, banana and mackerel pates.

Recipes were available to take home, and Alan hopes that his dishes will be recreated in many kitchens over the next few weeks.

All schools taking part in the workshops commit to undertake a seafood-based project using local partnerships during the year, and to disseminate the results to the rest of their school. In this way they are able to pass on information to a wide group of students.

Ruathy Donald organised informal drop-in sessions at lunchtime for teachers to allow her team to demonstrate how seafood can be used as a context for learning throughout the curriculum, and to outline the wide range of careers available throughout the seafood industry.

“Lots of teachers and older pupils come along to these sessions and many are surprised to find out how complex our seafood industry really is,” said Ruathy.

An evening session for parents, grandparents, siblings and guardians of children attending the workshops was held yesterday after school.

“This is a great opportunity for people to learn about the workshops the children will be taking part in, and to increase their own knowledge about seafood,” said Ruathy.

“And who knows, we might even encourage some to try fish and shellfish for the first time or to widen their seafood cookery repertoire.”