Food and Nutrition

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Pupils are initially taught the stimulating National Curriculum programme on how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating, which combines creative ‘hands on’ learning with science. Instilling a love of cooking in pupils will also open a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity through this rich and varied course. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables pupils to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life.

Through a wide range of practical activities pupils will experiment and be innovative with food, developing the confidence to learn independently. They will carry out practical tasks on their own and working together in mixed ability teams, allowing the opportunity to learn and practise preparation and cooking skills. Additionally, product analysis and sensory evaluation will show students that you can critically assess your own creations and those produced by others, then suggest ideas for improvement, and use spreadsheets to map data and then analyse the results.

In Key Stage 3, in a 10-week carousel, pupils are taught to:

  • understand and apply the principles of nutrition and health

  • cook a repertoire of predominantly savoury dishes so that they are able to feed themselves and others a healthy and varied diet

  • become competent in a range of cooking techniques (for example, selecting and preparing ingredients; using utensils and electrical equipment; applying heat in different ways; using awareness of taste, texture and smell to decide how to season dishes and combine ingredients; adapting and using their own recipes)

  • understand the source, seasonality and characteristics of a broad range of ingredients.

 

In Key Stage 4, a popular Year 10-11 option is to study the GCSE ‘Food preparation and nutrition’ course which enables students to:

  • demonstrate effective and safe cooking skills by planning, preparing and cooking using a variety of food commodities, cooking techniques and equipment

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the functional properties and chemical processes as well as the nutritional content of food and drinks

  • understand the relationship between diet, nutrition and health, including the physiological and psychological effects of poor diet and health

  • understand the economic, environmental, ethical, and socio-cultural influences on food availability, production processes, and diet and health choices

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of functional and nutritional properties, sensory qualities and microbiological food safety considerations when preparing, processing, storing, cooking and serving food

  • understand and explore a range of ingredients and processes from different culinary traditions (traditional British and international), to inspire new ideas or modify existing recipes.

This is a linear AQA GCSE course with assessment taking place in Year 11; comprising a written exam in June (50%) and non-examination assessment (NEA), practical projects. The NEA consists of one food investigation (15%) and one food preparation assessment (35%), which are undertaken in the Autumn and Spring terms respectively.

 

In Key Stage 5 our sixth form enrich their learning with a practical life skill cookery session each week and also have the opportunity to study the WJEC Level 3 BTEC ‘Food science and nutrition’ course to achieve a certificate in Year 12 (Unit 1) and a diploma in Year 13 (Units 2 and 3).

  • The purpose of unit 1 is for learners to develop an understanding of the nutritional needs of specific target groups and plan and cook complex dishes to meet their nutritional needs.

  • In unit 2 learners will develop an understanding of hazards and risks in relation to the storage, preparation and cooking of food in different environments and the control measures needed to minimise these risks. From this understanding, learners will be able to recommend the control measures that need to be in place, in different environments, to ensure that food is safe to eat.

  • The aim of unit 3 is for learners to use their understanding of the properties of food in order to plan and carry out experiments. The results of the experiments would be used to propose options to solve food production problems.  

 

Text books will be provided for each course and written theory learning, recipes and photographic evidence will be kept in a school folder in key stage 3 and thereafter in a personally chosen, sub-divided, A4 ring-binder folder with plastic wallets. Students are expected to bring their equipment to all lessons and maintain organised files. Homework tasks are set regularly to extend learning and reinforce concepts learnt in the classroom. The content will vary depending on the part of the course being covered, however will include purchase, preparation and weighing of ingredients for practical lessons, the evaluation of practical work carried out in the lesson and research tasks. The support of parents to ensure that pupils have the correct nut-free ingredients for their own tastes or requirements, and suitable, named containers is greatly appreciated.

In Key Stage 3, outside the classroom, it would be beneficial for parents to;

  • Take an active interest in promoting Healthy Eating and an active lifestyle, and discuss topics they are studying, which will allow pupils to consolidate what they are learning in class.

  • Assist with weighing out ingredients accurately, but not doing it, and guiding safe food storage in the refrigerator.

  • Encourage regular cooking at home and trying new foods.

  • Collect information that might be useful for a project (photos, magazines, recipes, books).

  • Organise a first-hand experience of a food-related visit (museum, in-store bakery, deli, restaurant, specialist food market, regional specialities).

  • Meet with a professional who works in the food industry.

  • Watch food-related programmes (MasterChef, Great British Bake Off).

In addition, in Key Stage 4 and beyond, parents can encourage their son or daughter to examine and discuss food and nutritional labels, food products available for sale and food choices. Parental interest in the food-related topics that frequently arise in today’s media can help develop critical analysis, and help to debate current food issues. Willing home taste testers are also valued to help objectively evaluate the food products and enjoy the regularly prepared dishes.

It is a joy to head up this fun and enjoyable department where pupils can flourish; creating innovative, tasty and exciting dishes whilst developing valuable life skills. Students gain enthusiasm and passion for cooking as they learn to make great tasting, healthy food and have the potential to study food at university and are qualified to enter the food industry, the world’s largest employer.