Mayor of Islington cuts ribbon at new kitchen, sits down for dinner at St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
The Mayor of Islington cut the ribbon at the brand new kitchen opened at St. Joseph’s Primary School, and then sat down for a school dinner with pupils and parents.
Mayor Una O’Halloran, who worked for more than a decade as a Teaching Assistant at the school on Highgate Hill before becoming Caledonian councillor in 2014, is also a Governor at St. Joseph’s.
She said the previous kitchen, dating back to the 1970s, was inadequate for the school’s 460 pupils.
“I think it’s great they’re getting a new kitchen,” O’Halloran said before cutting the ribbon Tuesday alongside the school’s head chef. “I don’t think people invest in school kitchens anymore. It’s a shame.
“You can have great learning, but the kitchen should be at the heart of the school as well.”
The parish priest, Rev. Pat Fitzgerald, blessed the new kitchen before the mayor went into one of the school’s halls, decked out with special tablecloths and pastel-coloured napkins. Jazz for children hummed over the speakers as background music.
The menu choices included Shepherd’s pie, chicken pie and pasta salad – all cooked from scratch. Dessert consisted of a selection of fruit or pineapple upside down cake with custard.
The kitchen was funded by a capital grant from the Westminster Diocese. As part of the project, a new learning space was created directly adjacent to the kitchen. Pupils and parents can attend cookery courses, and the space will also be used for other purposes, including special classes and rehearsals for school productions. The room has a projector and retractable screen.
Piotr Wasylczyk, one of about 50 parents who attended the ceremony and to have dinner with their children, said he was impressed with the new facilities and overall with the school.
He said that when he arrived in London from Poland nearly two years ago, it was difficult to find a school for his daughter.
“This was the only school willing to talk to us,” said Wasylczyk, who is coming to the end of a fixed-term appointment as an engineering researcher at UCL. “The other schools were very formal in their communications with us. So, if we decide to stay on in London, St. Joseph’s will be a big factor in our decision.”
Executive Head Teacher Clare McFlynn was delighted that so many parents could join having lunch with their children.
“We are thrilled to have secured the funding which allowed us to create a wonderful, modern kitchen for our children. We also have the luxury of a large multi-purpose room in the heart of our school