Ever since the first series of the BBC's hit series, The Great British Bake Off, people of all ages have been lured back to the kitchen to try their hand at baking. This enthusiasm has found its way back into our local schools. One of Norton Hill's houses, Exmoor, has embraced this baking revival and has just completed a four-week competition in which students were challenged to bake a variety of sweet delights.

The competition, coordinated by Food Technology Teacher and Exmoor Tutor, Ali Reeves, was inspired by one of the current Year 7 tutor groups who are reported to be 'fanatical about baking' and were subsequently having regular 'cake days'. Due to the enthusiasm shown by this group, Ali believed that the current appetite for baking might be more widespread and, as it turns out, it was!

The competition included three rounds for each year group of Year 7, 8 and 9, ending with the grand finale. The standard was extremely high in the early rounds and several judges were needed to pick the finalists. However, after three weeks of intense competition, six very skilled bakers were selected to take part in the grand finale of 'The Great Exmoor Bake Off'.

The competitors had an intensive 1½ hours to complete the challenge. The judging team consisted of various staff members from Norton Hill, who were said to have had 'little persuasion' to join the judging panel. The execution and presentation of the final cakes were said to have been 'exceptional', which apparently made the judging even more difficult. After much deliberation, Headteacher, Alun Williams, announced the winner as Megan Oram, from Year 8, for her gluten-free orange and passion fruit cake and the runner-up was Sophie Tidcombe, from Year 7, for her carrot cake.

After the final, Assistant Headteacher and Judge, Gordon Green, stated: "My own enslavement to anything sweet made the taste-testing a dream gig. It did not disappoint. The aromas, textures and flavours from the individual samples were incredible and indicative of the high- quality skills the students have acquired in their lessons. Well done to all involved!"

As part of Exmoor's drive to support the local community, it was decided that the cakes from the final would be donated to a local residential home, Beechcroft Residential Home. The school has had close links with this particular home over the years, with students completing voluntary work and presenting charity donations. The residents of Beechcroft also attended the annual Sixth Form Christmas Party, which was held back in December. The staff and residents of the home were said to have been 'extremely grateful' and thanked the students for their kind donation.