Accreditation Assessment Process and Procedures
By Andrew Maxwell, ICSA Founder Member and Accreditation Inspector

ICSA was founded in 2014 by industry leaders, on a platform to support the best of the UK’s independent cookery school sector, recognise hard work and high achievement, promote sustainability and support its members and to this day, these core principles are at the heart of what ICSA does.

Any prospective new member must demonstrate their understanding and support of these core principles during the accreditation inspection process. ICSA members can take reassurance from the fact that not all would-be members succeed in their applications, we currently refuse almost as many as succeed. But ICSA is an inclusive organisation and where applicants who fall short of our high standards demonstrate genuine moves towards meeting them, ICSA are keen to help them get to where they need to be, providing valuable feedback and coaching on applying schools to improve and re-apply.

In September and November 2019 Andrew carried out Accreditation Inspection of the College of Naturopathic Medicine, London (CNM) and The Cooking School, Warminster respectively.

“CNM run Diploma courses in Nutrition, herbal medicine and other naturopathic methodologies, including Natural Chef and Natural Vegan Chef Diplomas, from a bespoke facility in Clerkenwell, with 6 other locations around the UK. During the accreditation process, I was impressed by the immaculately maintained facilities. CNM demonstrated a professional and experienced approach to the delivery of professional courses but what struck me most was how engaged their Diploma students were. They were attentive, committed and flew the flag high for CNM.

The Cooking School in Warminster is a new school in a beautifully renovated space which opened in March 2019. Lulu, The Cooking School’s owner, has been running a successful catering and events business for over 30 years and as her business portfolio expands into The Cooking School, she and her team are embarking on an exciting new journey, delivering a broad selection of lifestyle courses, corporate events and bespoke classes. Running a cookery school is new territory for Lulu and her team but what is immediately clear is that they set themselves high standards, as reflected in their beautiful facility.

CNM and The Cooking School have present very different business models, CNM running professional courses focussing on a specific subject, while The Cooking School runs a model where short courses across the spectrum of topics are designed for all abilities. This difference is part of what makes them such valued new members: they represent the broad church that is the ICSA family, where we all share the common ground of wanting to teach cookery to the highest standards, in appropriate facilities and with the professionalism our customers are entitled to expect.”

In addition to meeting health and safety, insurance, environmental and food safety requirements, all applicants are required to meet the mandatory criteria regarding:

  • pre-course communications
  • communications during courses
  • honest and effective marketing
  • purchasing policies
  • animal welfare
  • monitoring efficiency
  • monitoring waste

All ICSA member schools and supporting communications are also encouraged to support our five core aspirations to support and practice:

  • Sustainably
  • Seasonality
  • Single use plastic free
  • Sourcing regionally
  • Supporting British: Suppliers, Producers & animal welfare standards.

Interested to become an accredited ICSA member and display our industry kite mark? Apply here