Pupils had work experience prepping food for a taste festival and learning about the catering trade ready for when they leave school.

The youngsters from Dagenham Park School worked with the non-profit Hustle Eats Caribbean street food business preparing food for the festival run by Barking and Dagenham Council.

They cooked jerk chicken, potato wedges and made Caribbean slaw for the festival staged at nearby Beam County Primary.

“You can’t teach experience,” Hustle Eats’ Terry Stephens said. “A hands-on approach improves self-confidence and opens paths to future careers.”

The company helps youngsters aged 16 to 24 with training, workshops and paid work experience. The Year 10 pupils learned to cook nutritious food and 'boned up' on the history of jerk which dates back to the Caribbean Taíno people.

The council set up a “good food partnership” with the community and businesses back in March to promote healthier, affordable fresh produce and to provide resources and land for growing, to help schools serve healthier meals.