Information For Students

When you are studying at Tante Marie Culinary Academy, there is a great deal of information to take in and this page contains a few pointers and bits of information to help you prepare for your course.

With a pass rate of over 95% over the last 10 years and graduates in high demand from employers, we will ensure that as the students reach the end of their courses, they will be assisted in the development their CV or résumé. Through our extensive list of contacts and employers, we help our students in moving onto the next stage of their careers once they have graduated. Every Tante Marie graduate will follow a different career path and the guidance we provide is tailored to each student. Graduates of Tante Marie have the world at their feet. Have a look at our alumni page to get an idea of what our graduates are up to now and what you could be doing.

Our Alumni

Tante Marie Culinary Academy’s town centre location is conveniently located just 20 minutes by train from central London, within easy reach of Heathrow and Gatwick airports and a range of convenient transport links. Tante Marie’s facilities are designed to offer students the opportunity to learn on a wide range of appliances, to ensure that graduates are versatile and adaptable. The Academy is based in a state-of-the-art, purpose built premises just 50 yards from Woking station, in the beautiful surroundings of Surrey and the South Downs, surrounded by a wide range of amenities including theatres, cinemas and exciting shops. We have 9 kitchens on site – 5 Academy teaching kitchens, a demonstration theatre, restaurant kitchen, prep kitchen and our new lifestyle course kitchen, ‘Tante Marie Live.’ The Academy also offers a theory classroom, wifi and an extensive library containing thousands of books to inspire the students. In addition to this, our gardens, just a short distance from the Academy, include a student fruit, vegetable and herb garden, providing us with a range of beautiful fresh ingredients to use in the school.

Our Facilities

We can accept students on from 16 years old and over and Tante Marie fully recognises its responsibilities for child and vulnerable adult protection. Where students are under 18 years old, we will ask for the consent of a parent or legal guardian prior to enrolment on the course and will communicate closely with them during the enrolment process as well as providing regular progress updates during the course.

All of our teaching and administrations staff have advanced DBS checks, have completed Child Protection and Safeguarding training, and first aid training. Tante Marie has a written Child Protection Policy which is available on request.

Many students come to Tante Marie to improve their English as well as learning to cook. The Home Office requires that students from non-English speaking countries achieve a level of CEFR Level B1 in speaking, listening, reading and writing. More information is available on the Home Office website. For students coming from the EU, Home Office legislation does not apply, however all classes at Tante Marie are taught in English and we require that students have an acceptable level of English prior to commencing their course. If you are uncertain about your English ability, we will arrange a telephone interview during which this can be assessed. Tante Marie can recommend qualified TEFL English language teachers locally.

International Students

There are no academic requirements for enrolment onto our courses, other than the English language requirements for international students. All we ask is that you are able to demonstrate a genuine passion for food and a desire to learn. As a general rule we encourage all students to come and view the Academy prior to enrolling, however we understand that this is not always possible, for example with international students. In this instance we will conduct a telephone interview to establish suitability and advise on which course is most suitable.

Tante Marie is committed to promoting an environment which offers equal opportunities to all staff, students and visitors, free from discrimination in any way.

The practical nature of what we teach at Tante Marie often appeals to those with difficulties such as dyslexia. We have invested greatly in ensuring that our materials and teaching methods are designed to offer every individual student the best possible opportunity to learn… and if you are finding something a bit challenging, we will do everything we can to help you overcome it.

In order to ensure all our students have the best possible learning opportunity, we have an attendance policy and various rules in place which we require the students to follow whilst on our courses. At the start of your course we will carry out an ‘induction morning’ during which we will tell you everything you need to know about how to get the best out of your course. We will also issue you with your own copy of our Student Handbook which provides you with everything you need to know about being a student at Tante Marie Culinary Academy.

Most of our students find their time at Tante Marie enjoyable, rewarding and fulfilling. However, there are times when students want to address a concern or complaint and under these circumstances we always aim to address matters in confidence and with due urgency and consideration. It is our policy to make working conditions fair for staff and students alike. At the end of your course you will be emailed a feedback form which is confidential and will only be seen by the Principal and Managing Director. Your feedback is valuable to us and helps us to continually improve.

If you have any concerns, questions or complaints, we operate an open door policy and encourage you to discuss them with us immediately. Students may discuss any issue with our teaching staff, Principal or Managing Director, depending on its nature.

We recognise that every student is different, learns in different ways and has different needs and expectations from their Tante Marie course. With this in mind, handling feedback, grievances and complaints (which we are pleased to say are rare) is an organic process – that is to say, each case may be different and is treated as such. However, we also recognise the need to have guidelines in place and a formal process where necessary. In such instances, the following general guidelines are applied and where necessary a more formal process is followed (as set out below):

A student has a problem with the other students in their class

  1. They should talk to the class teacher.
  2. The class teacher will investigate any issues brought to their attention and seek guidance where necessary. The class teacher will get agreement from the
  3. student before proceeding with any action.
  4. The class teacher will deal with any inappropriate or discriminatory behaviour regardless of the specific complaint. The Principal should be informed.
  5. If the student is still not satisfied, they should request a meeting with the Principal.

A student has a problem with a teacher

  1. They should discuss this with the Principal.
  2. The Principal will investigate any issues brought to their attention.
  3. The Principal will discuss with the class teacher any ways in which their style or actions could be moderated in order to prevent further problems. The Principal will discuss with the student any ways in which they could help to improve the situation.
  4. Should it be impossible to resolve the situation with mutual effort, the Principal will attempt to move the student to another class, although this may not be possible until the end of a term and may require another student to agree to swap classes. It is not always possible to move students to another class
  5. If the student is still not satisfied, they should request a meeting with the Managing Director

A student has a problem with another student

  1. They should discuss this with the class teacher
  2. The class teacher will investigate any issues brought to their attention and seek guidance where necessary. The class teacher will get agreement from the student before proceeding with any action.
  3. If both students are within the same class, the class teacher will propose any ways in which the behaviour of either student could be moderated in order to prevent further problems.
  4. If the students are from different classes, the Principal will propose any ways in which the behaviour of either student could be moderated in order to prevent further problems.
  5. If bullying behaviour is discovered it will be dealt with by the Principal regardless of this specific complaint.
  6. If the student is still not satisfied they should request a meeting with the Managing Director.

A student has unacceptable level of absence

  1. The teacher will notify the student and the Principal when attendance becomes a concern. The feepayer will also be notified if that is a different person to the student. The student will be reminded of the minimum attendance required to be eligible to take the exam.
  2. If the student then exceeds that limit they will not be entitled to take the end of term examination. They will not be eligible for a certificate of attendance but in compassionate situations Tante Marie will prepare a document detailing what the student has covered and the level they have achieved.
  3. In compassionate situations where not enough skills have been covered for a Certificate of Attendance to be awarded, Tante Marie may award a Certificate of Attendance with notes of skills not covered. (For examples of compassionate situations see below)
  4. If a student wishes to appeal against the Principal’s decision, they should request a meeting with the Managing Director.

A student is not progressing fast enough to achieve the target qualification

  1. The Principal will notify the student of their concerns
  2. The Principal and teacher will formulate a plan to aid the student’s learning which they will then discuss with the student. They may request information regarding any existing or potential learning difficulties the student may have to aid their planning.
  3. The teacher will then implement the plan, reporting back to the student and the Principal at regular intervals making more changes as necessary. The teacher will contact the fee payer if this is a different person to the student.
  4. In some situations private coaching can be suggested.
  5. If the student fails to meet their targets, taking a lesser exam at the end of term should be discussed.
  6. In situations where a student’s performance in class is detrimental to the rest of the class, they may be asked to leave the course (see terms and conditions)
  7. If a student is unhappy with the Principal’s decision, they should request a meeting with the Managing Director.

A group of students is generating complaints from a member or members of the student body

  1. A complaint should be made to the Principal.
  2. The Principal will investigate any issues brought to their attention.
  3. The group will be presented with the complaint and the impact on their peers described.
  4. Any student who still persists in the behaviour will be individually cautioned. This will happen in private unless it needs to be stopped immediately for the good of the student body (in cases of health and safety, hygiene or talking in demonstrations).
  5. Any student who persists in the behaviour may then be excluded from classes.
  6. Appeals can be made the Managing Director.

A student is unhappy with the course structure or content

  1. Minor concerns may be discussed with the teaching staff or Principal during mentoring sessions.
  2. For other concerns, the student should request a meeting with the Principal to discuss their concerns.
  3. The Principal will make any changes possible that would be in the interests of the majority of the students.
  4. If the student is not satisfied, a further meeting should be requested with the Managing Director.

A student is unhappy with the facilities or equipment provided

  1. Minor concerns may be discussed with the teaching staff or Principal during mentoring sessions.
  2. For other concerns the student should discuss with a teacher. The teacher will report any maintenance issues in the normal way, order any equipment that is part of the standard provision in the kitchens and discuss with the Principal any additional requests.
  3. Any requests for equipment or facilities not currently offered, will be taken by the Principal to the weekly Management meeting where a decision will be made either to satisfy the request or an explanation given for denying it.
  4. If the student is not satisfied a meeting should be requested with the Managing Director.

If a student feels any complaint or grievance has not been dealt with correctly they should make an appointment to discuss the matter with the Managing Director.

In exceptional circumstances where agreement cannot be reached, the company’s formal complaints procedure (below) applies. Students and staff must follow the procedures above and note any discussions, decisions or action points on the students’ Professional Development Journal.

Formal Complaints Procedure

Formal complaints should be made in writing and addressed directly to: The Principal, Tante Marie Culinary Academy, 57-60 Commercial Way, Woking. Surrey. GU21 6HN. In the unlikely event that we are not able to resolve the matter directly ourselves, students are entitled to refer the complaint to the Academy’s Board of Directors. The reference must be in writing, addressed as “Confidential: The Board of Directors of Tante Marie Limited, 57-60 Commercial Way, Woking. Surrey. GU21 6HN.” If reference to the Board does not resolve the matter within a reasonable time either Tante Marie or you may ask for the matter to be referred to a single independent adjudicator in London who shall be appointed by Tante Marie and such appointment notified to you in writing. If you do not agree with the appointment and notify us in writing, we will apply for the appointment to be made by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in London. The adjudicator’s decision on the complaint will be final and binding, but shall not include any award of compensation, damages or legal expenses. The adjudicator shall decide on the procedure for the adjudication (including deciding that the complaint or any remedy sought is not appropriate for adjudication) and shall have discretion to decide which of the parties to the adjudication should pay the costs, or any part of the costs of the adjudication and its administration including the costs of any hearing. Tante Marie will maintain a written record of all complaints and associated resolutions.

In order to maintain an assessment policy that is fair to all of our students, we require that students miss no more than 6 classes (equivalent to 3 full days) per term. Students who miss more than this my forfeit the right to sit examinations or face marks penalties. It sounds harsh, but the simple fact is that if you are not here, you won’t learn.

Tante Marie has an excellent safety record and Health and Safety training forms an important part of our curriculum. All students on our Cordon Bleu Diploma, Certificate and 4 week Essential Skills courses will complete the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering. As part of our enrolment process, we will ask students to complete a Health Declaration Form to tell us about any relevant medical conditions, such as dyslexia, epilepsy, allergies etc. This information is treated as confidential but we are sure you will understand that it is important for us to know, and helps us to ensure your safety. All of our teaching staff have First Aid training.

Awards and Accreditations

There are a number of bogus companies and PR organisations in the UK who have come up with various award programmes for UK Cookery Schools – none of these are ‘official’ and there is no governing body for cookery schools in the UK. As a result, it is our policy not to enter such awards. (We prefer to let the success of our graduates do the talking!) However we are an Academy which provides accredited qualifications and training, meaning it is important that we can demonstrate that we meet the high standards our students expect. As such, we are accredited by The British Accreditation Council for Further and Higher Education and are inspected annually by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).

We are also a Gold Standard Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality Awarding Body and our relationship with CTH even extends to helping them to create new qualifications which are now being awarded around the world! Tante Marie quite literally sets the standards in culinary training!