All-day cafe in school

PUBLISHED: 13:42 09 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:17 15 June 2010

THERE was no hint of September blues when students returned to Honiton Community College last week following the summer break. Instead, students were gripped by the wow factor as they were shown around their new cafe-style dining room.

THERE was no hint of September blues when students returned to Honiton Community College last week following the summer break. Instead, students were gripped by the wow factor as they were shown around their new cafe-style dining room - the first of its kind in the South West.Open from 8am to 5pm, the ultra modern facility will offer up to 200 food choices a day and dish up everything from bacon rolls and melon slices to salads and cooked meals.College bursar Paul Stevenson was keen to see the coffee shop concept introduced after learning that a former high street outlet had expanded into schools.Geoff Peppiatt, chairman of Hertfordshire-based Innovate, personally explained to students what the change will offer them."It's brand new and a little bit different," he said. "You are seeing it on its first day. The school has invested a lot of money in it."We are offering you a wide range of food and you can choose whatever you want - anything from a hot meal to salads, paninis and bagels. The cafe is even open for breakfasts."The mainly self-service dining area has been revamped, with a cool blue and silver colour scheme.Students, who were previously not allowed to take bags into the dining room, can now keep their possessions with them and select items using plastic baskets. Three tills will scan bar codes to speed up service times."It will be a little bit slow for the first week," warned Mr Peppiatt. "We are getting used to it and you will be making decisions about what you want. It's a grown-up cafe - a coffee shop-type thing."A separate Starbucks-style area has been section off for sixth formers and teachers.As well as the cafe, a new outdoor seating area has been created. Up to 80 students will be able to dine al fresco, under huge canopies.Every student at the college was introduced to the new facility last Thursday morning.Mr Peppiatt said he hoped the cafe would "change the atmosphere in the school"."It changes the way teenagers feel," he told the Herald. "They need social space. It's their most important consideration."He won a round of applause from students after explaining the changes made over the summer holiday.Mr Stevenson said: "Sixth formers are being employed to work in the cafe. They earn £5.48 an hour and get a £1 meal voucher. They will also have the opportunity to get recognition for their work in the form of qualifications and certificates. It's like bringing a Starbucks into the school."Students can man tills at meal times and prepare food."We are the first school in the South West to have this facility - be proud of that," Mr Stevenson told students.Winston Perry, 15, told the Herald: "It looks modern."James Parris, also 15, added: "It's posh.""The food's all changed; it's better," said Lee Clark.And Vanessa Allen, 15, said: "It's good for people who get to school and want a breakfast. Compared to what it was before, it has got the wow factor."Students entitled to free school meals can use the cafe in the same way that they used the previous dining room.


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