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Charles Saumarez – University of Reading

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  • Charles Saumarez

    Chef to teacher

  • Charles Saumarez

    Chef to teacher

Charles Saumarez

charles3dtPrior to enrolling on the PGCE Secondary Design and Technology course, Charles was in the hospitality industry for fifteen years.

Charles originally did an FdA in Hotel Catering Management, training in front of house, before going onto do a BSc (Hons) in Culinary Arts.

He worked as a chef for many years in London, Cambridge, France and the South of England, primarily in high end establishments (Rosetted and Michelin).

So why change to teaching?

"I'd always enjoyed teaching new skills and passing them on to future generations of chefs, so I thought strongly about becoming a lecturer. I took a year out and did a MA (Hons) in food and business management. Whilst doing my thesis on the UK shortage of skilled chefs, a recurring theme which kept coming up was education and training of young people. This led me to think about secondary teaching."

charles1dtCharles went onto undertake day placements in various schools around where he lived before applying to University of Reading.

" University of Reading stood out because they placed great emphasis on food technology as part of secondary design and technology. The opportunity to learn about other aspects of design and technology was equally appealing, as I thoroughly enjoy learning new skills and expanding my repertoire."

The subject leads at the University try hard to place students in schools where they can play to their strengths, as well as learn new things. If a student likes textiles for example, they could be placed in a textiles department.


As part the course, Charles spent his main placement covering primarily food technology classes in a school that placed great emphasis on the subject, as well as offering a BTEC in Catering and Hospitality.

"This was a great opportunity for me to showcase my skills and really inspire future generations through learning, demonstrating and even sharing stories of my times working with big names in the industry!"

He continued:

charles1dt"The opportunity for myself to learn more of the design and technology curriculum was equally inspiring. I even  got to use my new skills during the lockdown. Through learning to teach textiles, I was able to make masks and scrubs for the NHS. It gave me confidence to try new things. I bought a woodturning lathe and taught myself this skill whilst learning surrounding skills such as types of woods and their uses, as well as the basic mechanics and physics of this particular skill. I am confident all this will stand me in good stead for my future job  teaching primarily design and technology."

Going forward, Charles intends on continuing to develop not only his subject knowledge, but in the pastoral setting, by helping every pupil succeed and reach their own potential.

" I believe design technology and food technology are important subjects because they offer essential life skills, whilst also serving as a testament to how civilizations were built through design and the use of emerging technologies, going all the way back to the Stone Age. Food is equally important, not only from the health and nutritional value, but in bringing people together and sharing cultures and values through a cooking medium, as taught to me by some of my previous mentors."

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