FLIPPING pancakes is one of the few pleasures in the run up to gloomy Lent.

And for a group of excited four-year-olds in Old Town the experience was all the sweeter, as they got to take time out of lessons to make the unleavened treat.

Helped by school kitchen staff, the reception class at Croft Primary took an hour out to make their batter, cook the pancakes and top them with healthy fruits and slightly less-healthy maple syrup.

Vicky Packford, chef manager at the Old Town school, said: “This teaches the children some basic cooking skills, which a lot of children don’t necessarily get.”

Amy Knight, assistant principal, said the lesson helped teach the youngsters about different cultures, with the children learning about the significance of Shrove Tuesday. In the Christian calendar it marks the final day of feasting before Lent.

The lesson also highlighted the importance of healthy eating. She added: “On the table we’ve got fruit and we’re encouraging that balanced diet. They need to know that if they’re using maple syrup, to use it in moderation.”

Children were earlier taken through the process of making the pancakes, whisking together egg, flour and milk in a bowl.

But foremost in the youngsters’ minds was eating the pancakes.

“The best bit is you get to put your favourite toppings on the pancakes,” said four-year-old Rose. Her topping of choice was an unusual one: marshmallow.

Classmate Jack, four, said: “I want to be a chef. I like to cook pancakes and cakes. My favourite flavour is chocolate.”

“The best bit of making pancakes is eating them,” added Imran, five, with a grin.

Responsible for feeding around 500 children across Swindon schools, chef Miss Packford knows a thing or two about making pancakes.

Asked for her top tip, she said: "It's the whisking and adding a little bit of milk at a time to the flour, so there are no lumps."