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Inverness High School pupils build their very own pizza oven


By Alasdair Fraser


Pupils worked together to plan and build the pizza oven from scratch. Picture: Gary Anthony
Pupils worked together to plan and build the pizza oven from scratch. Picture: Gary Anthony

AS playground snacks go, few could top it.

Forget crisps, broken biscuits and limp sandwiches, some big cheeses at Inverness High School have grabbed a slice of the culinary action by building their very own pizza oven.

The impressive clay creation, located in the school garden, was fired up for the first time just before the Christmas holidays.

It is now ready to bring warm Italiano flavours through the coldest months of winter by churning out crisp, mouth-watering homemade pizza for classmates and teachers.

Craig Mundie tucks in. Picture: Gary Anthony
Craig Mundie tucks in. Picture: Gary Anthony

Under the guidance of learning support teacher Jack Trevelyan, 10 fifth-year pupils researched and sourced material – including clay from a Black Isle croft – before bringing the masterplan together.

It took months of hard work, but the “cob” oven cost just £63 in materials: £23 for cement and £40 for fire bricks. It also uses old beer bottles for insulation.

Mr Trevelyan praised the skills and ingenuity shown by his team, who are all pupils taking subjects outwith mainstream Highers.

He said: “They did pretty much everything themselves, using clay they sourced from Dan Ross, the organic vegetables producer who has a croft near Fortrose.

“He was building a house and had some lovely red Black Isle clay, which I collected with my trailer.

“The kids then mixed it with exactly the right amount of sand.

“We were also given some blocks by the builders currently renovating the school, who also chipped in withsome other materials and sand.

“We built it during the summer term and then rendered it at the beginning of December and fired it up for the first time last term.

“We got it pretty hot and saw just how quickly it could cook a pizza. It is looking really nice now.”

Pupils made their own dough and chose their own toppings for the trial run and now hope to use the oven for school parties and functions.

Pupil Tyler Kean's effort gets the thumbs up from teacher Jack Trevelyan. Picture: Gary Anthony
Pupil Tyler Kean's effort gets the thumbs up from teacher Jack Trevelyan. Picture: Gary Anthony

Headmaster John Rutter believes the high school may be the first in Scotland to build its own.

Mr Trevelyan added: “I think most of the kids drew a great sense of fulfilment from the project and had good fun building it.

“Some of them couldn’t wait to get their hands on concrete blocks and mortar from the cement mixer.

“If we were to buy a professionally-made oven of similar size, I suspect we’d be talking thousands of pounds. This is definitely a primitive technology version, but it works very effectively.”



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