Accreditation means that the school has been found to meet standards and achieve a level of quality and thus gives comfort and security to students or purchasers, especially for those buying short courses for others.
Although accreditation does not offer direct assistance or easy answers for those trying to choose a cookery school, nevertheless, the accreditation model of evaluation may itself provide helpful guidance by focusing attention on important attributes of independent cookery schools that students may wish to consider in their search. What is the cookery school’s mission and how does it manifest itself? What distinctive programs are offered? What support systems are available? How does the cookery school define its courses? How is discipline handled? What means are employed to assess student achievement? How do the answers to these questions correspond to the list of the students needs when searching for a suitable course?
Accreditation cannot guarantee the experience of a specific student in a particular cookery school, but it does testify to the professional judgement of others in the field that a cookery school’s program is what the school purports it to be and that the school is living up to high standards in every area of its operation, including a commitment to its own ongoing pursuit of improvement. Accreditation requires full disclosure of the school policies, including financial obligations in terms of insurances, refunds and customer satisfaction processes It may also help by identifying questions and establishing the parameters for a student with a cookery school concerning the opportunities it can offer and its appropriateness for a specific course or professional qualification.
Independent cookery schools differ from one another and develop in distinctive ways in response to their missions. Their strength arises in part from their exemption from stultifying regulation, but this freedom from governmental oversight provides its own challenge to find alternative ways to assess and demonstrate quality. For independent cookery schools, accreditation is both a suitable vehicle for school accountability and an effective catalyst for school improvement.