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Food Preparation & Nutrition

Food Preparation & Nutrition

Our GCSE in Food Preparation and Nutrition equips students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to be able to feed themselves and others better. Students develop practical cookery skills and techniques as they explore the underlying principles of food science, nutrition, food traditions and food safety. We aim to inspire students to be inquisitive, creative and confident cooks. Food Preparation and Nutrition is a new, exciting, up-to-date qualification that is relevant to the world of food today.

Cooking & Nutrition/Food Preparation & Nutrition Curriculum Content Overview

Ethos & Values

  • Food Preparation and Nutrition aims to equip learners with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to cook and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating. We will encourage learners to cook and make informed decisions about a wide range of further learning, opportunities and career pathways as well as develop life skills that enable learners to feed themselves and others affordably, now and in later life.
  • We apply our whole Academy curriculum themes to our Food lessons that are planned to encourage them to think a little more about the wider world and help develop them into well rounded individuals.
  • Our curriculum aims to bring about real sustainable change, providing learners with the expertise and skills to feed themselves and others better.
  • The heart of our curriculum is the development of strong practical cookery skills and techniques as well as a good understanding of nutrition. We believe that learners who learn to cook well are more likely to make better food choices and understand healthy eating.
  • We see our curriculum as another step towards creating a healthier society and improving the nation's cooking skills as well as setting some students on the path to careers in the food and hospitality industries.
  • We will aim to inspire our learners to explore the discovery of new ingredients and different ways of cooking through experimentation.
  • Food Preparation and Nutrition will help learners to discover the essentials of the food science behind cooking and bring learning to life.
  • We aim to raise attainment by improving confidence, self-belief and encouraging pride in students work and to consistently set high standards of expectations and match these with high quality teaching, resources and learning experiences.
  • We plan our lessons on a day to day basis and across a series of lessons really carefully, taking note of the cognitive load in any one session, so that our students have the best possible chance of embedding and storing information effectively, so that it can be used again in a sequence of lessons, allowing students to move forward confidently with their learning.

Knowledge & Skills

Food preparation and nutrition will encourage 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.
  • Our students will discover the essentials of food science, nutrition and how to cook. In addition to this, students will understand the huge challenges that we face globally to supply the world with nutritious and safe food.

Resources & Facilities

Our food rooms are fully operational working kitchen. Students have spaces to prep food with ovens and sinks, etc. There is space for them to leave their ingredients. There are fully functioning demonstration areas so ALL students can see first-hand the dishes that they will need to be preparing. Our most recently fitted room is a high tech working area for students to develop and engage within Food.

In all of our Food rooms, wall space is positively used to create informative and stimulating displays that reflect modern processes, support the projects and create an expectation for achievement.

Courses & Qualifications

Key Stage 3

Across years 7, 8 & 9 students follow the national curriculum in Cooking and Nutrition using schemes endorsed by the British Nutrition Foundation. Students have one period a week for 50 minutes and generally alternate between theory and practical lessons developing their skill level and confidence through a wide range of skills, techniques and equipment.

Our Key Stage 3 curriculum provides opportunities for students to:

  • Have hands-on experiences with food.
  • Learn about and gain confidence in basic food hygiene and preparation skills.
  • Learn about healthier eating through practical food work.
  • Apply simple budgeting skills to food choices they make.
  • Work independently and in small groups to develop understanding of wider needs and become a better informed consumer.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Food preparation and nutrition is studied in Year 10 and Year 11 following the OCR examination board. In Year 10 we teach the core components of nutrition, food provenance, processing and production and food science. We also focus on developing the students culinary skills through the production of nutritious and skilful dishes. In Year 11 the course is focussed on the completion of the elements required for the course qualification. In each year students have three sessions a week to experience both practical and theory sessions. The course is structured around three elements.

  • 1 x Food Investigation Task (NEA 1) – This task is worth 15% of the qualification and assesses the scientific principles underlying the preparation and cooking of food. Learners will be expected to draw on knowledge from content studied in Years 7-10 to conduct practical experimentation to investigate and evaluate an understanding of the working characteristics, functional and chemical properties of ingredients and use the findings of that investigation to achieve a particular result with respect to the preparation and cooking of food. The task is externally set by the OCR examination board. The set task will be communicated to centres on 1st September of the academic year in which the assessment is to be taken.
  • 1 x Food Preparation Task (NEA 2) – This NEA task assesses the planning, preparation, cooking and presentation of food. This component is worth 35% of the qualification. Learners are required to prepare, cook and present three dishes within a single period of no more than three hours and plan, in advance, how this will be achieved. OCR will communicate the task set for the Food Preparation Task to centres on 1st November in the academic year in which the assessment is to be taken.
  • 1 x Written Exam - The examination will be one hour and 30 minutes and is worth 50% of the overall qualification. It will be sat in the summer of Year 11. Learners will be expected to answer questions based on content studied across the entire course.

The following types of question will be asked:

  • ten compulsory questions including structured and free response questions
  • some questions that include stimulus material
  • synoptic questions are included.

ICT sessions are also included at GCSE level to develop skills in software use such as nutritional analysis and sensory profiling and 1 x 50 minute session per week in Year 11 to allow students to complete the Non-Examined Assessment Units.

Food Nutrition & Preparation GCSE

OCR Board
Course Code: J309 B
J309/01 Examination
J309/03 Food Investigation Task
J309/05 Food Preparation Task

Learning Outside The Classroom

Food teachers will offer their skills and supervision either during the lunch break or after school to support students with a variety of tasks. It is hoped that we will be able to run a food science club in lower school to develop interest and skills for the increasing science content of the subject.

Timetabled sessions during school holidays are also organised to support students with their learning and prepare for their GCSE.

We also work hard to promote food and healthy lifestyles across the whole school by supporting and raising awareness of initiatives such as Fairtrade Fortnight, British Food Fortnight, British Heart Week, Healthy Eating Week, British Game Week & Fish Heroes

Where Does This Take Me In The Future?


  • Provides technical and employability skills, knowledge and understanding which are transferable and will enable individuals to meet changing circumstances, whether these arise from a shift in their own status or in employment.
  • Provides a good progression route to more advanced qualifications at 6th form college and through to degree level.
  • Helps students to think and function independently and to become financially capable.
  • Sets some students on the path to careers in the food and hospitality industries.

Career opportunities that studying food could lead to:

Food Stylist, Product Development, Barista, Sous Chef, Molecular Gastronomist, Butcher, Artisan Baker, Mycologist, Restaurant Designer, Environmental Health Officer, Food Lawyer, Urban Farmer, Vegan Chef, Packaging Developer, Food Scientist, Dietician

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Louth Academy

Philip C Dickinson
BA (Hons) MA PGCE.