Food Preparation and Nutrition
The Food department has two teachers, Mrs Ruth (Head of Department) and Mrs Warren, who are supported by a dedicated technician, Mrs Harrington.
The department has two well equipped stainless steel kitchens, enabling classes of up to 22 students to cook independently. At KS3, students have three lessons every two weeks – a theory lesson, a practical lesson where students cook independently, and a task lesson where students carry out practical activities and investigations in small groups. Students spend half of the year in Food with the rest of the year spent in Design & Technology – the classes rotate in February. At KS4 we run a thriving GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition course, and offer a Food enrichment course at KS5. Extra-curricular activities include Year 7 and 8 Food Club and Year 9 Practical Masterclass Club.
Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill. We hope to inspire a lifelong interest in food and healthy eating, and to equip students with the skills they need to feed themselves and others throughout their life. Students learn a wide range of practical skills and develop their confidence to cook independently. Students also take part in practical investigations to explore scientifically what is happening during food preparation and cooking.
At KS3, students spend half of the year in Food as part of a carousel with Design and Technology.
What will you learn about?
Students will learn how to plan, prepare, cook and serve food, developing a range of practical skills to enable them to cook independently using a range of commodities, techniques, utensils and electrical equipment. Students will cook a range of predominantly savoury dishes, including those from different culinary traditions, preparing them for independent living later in life. Students will learn and demonstrate excellent hygiene and food safety when preparing, storing, cooking and serving food.
Students will develop their sensory analysis skills to become proficient in accurately describing taste, texture and smell. Students will also research, choose and adapt their own recipes using their sensory knowledge.
Students will learn about the relationship between food, nutrition and health. They will study the function and sources of different nutrients, the benefits of a healthy balanced diet and the consequences of poor nutrition. Students will cover the up to date government guidelines for health.
Students will explore food provenance to understand the source, seasonality and characteristics of a range of ingredients. Students will explore the reasons behind the food we choose to eat. Students will consider how economic, ethical, environmental and socio-cultural factors influence food availability and choice.
Students will learn about the food science involved in cooking and will carry out practical investigations to be able to see this in action. Students will consider the functional properties of food ingredients and will learn how ingredients and processes interact to produce the food we eat.
To be successful in this subject, students will need to be good at and enjoy:
- Learning how to cook independently
- Developing organisational and time management skills
- Developing problem solving skills and the ability to overcome challenges
- Teamwork when carrying out practical investigations
- Learning through practical activities
Progression routes & career opportunities
Food Preparation and Nutrition fits neatly with science and PE, and the organisational skills learned at KS3 and GCSE are transferable to other subjects and job roles. Although not currently offered by Coopers, Level 3 Food Science and Nutrition can be studied at KS5 alongside other A Levels. Degree courses include BSc (Hons) Food Technology, BSc (Hons) Food Science, BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition and Dietetics, and are offered by a range of Universities. The food and drink sector has a turnover of £96 billion and is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, employing almost 395,000 people directly in the UK. It is a growing market with around 109,000 new jobs predicted to be needed by 2022, more than any other manufacturing sector. Food professionals work in many occupations including manufacturing, retailing, marketing, food service, universities and schools, government, research and development, quality assurance and food law enforcement. Further information on careers in the food industry can be found at http://tastycareers.org.uk/ or ask Mrs Ruth who will be happy to share her experiences of working within the food industry in New Product Development.
Students are set a variety of homework tasks including independent research, theory tasks and flipped learning. We use Google Classroom to help students be organised for practicals, and for online homework tasks.
In addition, students provide their own ingredients for practicals so continue to develop their weighing and measuring skills at home when preparing their ingredients for lessons.
We offer a Food Club which enables students in Year 7 and 8 to further develop their practical skills. In year 9, there is the opportunity to attend practical Masterclasses for those who wish to stretch and challenge their practical skills further.