Food & Nutrition

Departmental approach to the curriculum

 “Good food provision in schools has been shown to lead not only to healthier children but to improved attainment.” (Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, authors of The School Food Plan)

The KS3 food and nutrition curriculum is designed to develop the following aspects. 

Active students - To extend students' knowledge and understanding of food, diet, and health, developing their practical skills in food preparation and different cooking techniques enabling them to make informed decisions about their own diet and food choices. Students will explore how to use good food hygiene and safety practices when getting ready to store, prepare and cook food for safe consumption.

Life-long association with food - students will explore how and why their dietary needs change throughout life. They should already have a range of different practical skills to make a repertoire of predominantly savory products which meet current guidelines for healthy eating; in line with the ‘Eatwell Guide’ skills are further developed. A key focus will be placed on equipping students with the knowledge and skills to have a healthy association with food and nutrient. 

Citizenship - Ongoing and will enhance their knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a good citizen by promoting, ‘Love, Freedom, Peace, Truth, Justice, and unity amongst ourselves the community, and beyond.  Examples implemented in food and nutrition lessons are making burns and mince pies and delivering them to local charities e.g. homeless for Christmas.

Development - Students will enhance their knowledge and understanding of what constitutes a healthy balanced diet and good nutrition. The nutritional needs of a teenager and food provenance.

Enjoyment - Our curriculum is fully inclusive to allow all students to enjoy their personal learning journey. School visits to local hotels to learn how to enhance the aesthetics and presentation of dishes to a wider audience.

We deliver lessons where students plan and design their own foods, e.g. design, name, and create a burger/vegetarian option, and understand that there are different types of diets and why people eat the foods that they do. In addition, students learn about garnishes and the importance of the presentation of food.

Lessons are taught in mixed ability/gender groups with differentiated competition to ensure all students are enjoying themselves and developing in their learning journey. The students will experience House competitions every half term to create an ethos of healthy competitions where students “feel part of a family” and learn to work for one another. 


Year 7

Students are introduced to the subject with two lessons over the two-week timetable looking at basic food skills. This includes Food Hygiene and Safety as well as an introduction to basic tools and equipment. The course follows a theme of learning new skills in order to prepare foods that are interesting and delicious. Practical lessons vary between weekly and every two weeks depending on the planning and preparations needed for students to fully understand a topic. 

Year 8

Understand and apply the principles of nutrition and health.

Cook a repertoire of predominantly savoury dishes so you can feed yourself and others a healthy and varied diet.

Become competent in a range of cooking techniques, 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 different ingredients adapting own recipes.

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

Year 9

These skills will be built on and improved should pupils opt for the GCSE course. Students will use previous skills to plan, prepare and create new dishes. All work will introduce pupils to the skills required at GCSE for the Food Preparation and Nutrition specification AQA, Eatwell guide, vitamins and minerals.

Students  will acquire key skills and understand how to:

  • Investigate functional and chemical properties of ingredients 
  • Analyse and evaluate results
  • Understand special diets and Food Choice
  • Select equipment for practical sessions and use it safely and correctly 
  • Plan a dish and produce it using a detailed time plan
  • Test food and identify areas for improvement.
  • Linked to Core topics KS3
  • Food nutrition and health

Year 10 and 11

The new AQA Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE is an exciting and creative course that focuses on practical cooking skills to ensure students develop a thorough understanding of nutrition, food provenance, and the working characteristics of food materials. At its heart, this qualification focuses on nurturing students’ practical cookery skills to give them a strong understanding of nutrition over the course of two years AQA exam board.

It is a practical and creative course that focuses on giving students the necessary skills and subject knowledge to provide the foundation for the NEA and final examination in year 11. 

Intended to be flexible and easily adapted to meet the curriculum requirements.

The approved books support the course specification with recipe suggestions for practical activities and can be used as an extension over additional sessions.

Topics and themes:

1. Food, nutrition, and health

2. Food science

3. Food safety

4. Food choice

5. Food provenance


Students will be expected to apply their knowledge and understanding of the specification from the Year 10 course and demonstrate a wide range of practical skills in the Non-Exam Assessment (NEA). The final written paper will assess their theoretical knowledge and understanding of the subject content of this specification.

Students will have been taught a wide range of food preparation skills which have been integrated throughout the Year 10 scheme of work and linked where appropriate to the subject content. In the NEA, students must use and apply a variety of food preparation skills to achieve a range of different outcomes. The choice of recipes to demonstrate the skills.

Assessment for AQA GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition (8585)

Assessment is by a Non-exam assessment (NEA, undertaken in year 11) which forms 50% of the marks, the remaining 50% will be by a one hour 45 minutes written examination.

Link to the AQA Food Preparation and Nutrition homepage 

Written Exam worth 50% 

Time: 1 hour 45 mins

Marks: 100 marks

Coursework worth 50%

Task 1: Food investigation (30 marks)

Students' understanding of the working characteristics, and functional and chemical properties of ingredients.

Practical investigations are a compulsory element of this NEA task. Task 1: Written or electronic report (1,500–2,000 words) including photographic evidence of the practical investigation.

Task 2: Food preparation assessment (70 marks)

Students' knowledge, skills, and understanding in relation to the planning, preparation, cooking, presentation of food, and application of nutrition related to the chosen task. Students will prepare, cook and present a final menu of three dishes within a single period of no more than three hours, planning in advance how this will be achieved. This task can be written or electronic portfolio including photographic evidence. Photographic evidence of the three final dishes must be included.

Long Term Curriculum Overviews

'The Big Picture' Curriculum Map

'The Big Picture Curriculum Map

This document will provide a visual overview of the department's curriculum from Key Stages 3 to 5. This is in a student-friendly format to support them in their understanding of the department's curriculum.

Big Picture Curriculum Map - Food Technology

Assessment Matrix - Food Preparation and Nutrition

Department Assessment Matrix

This document will provide an overview for assessment for Key Stages 3 and 4.


How can you help your child succeed in food technology?


We recommend the students cook as much as possible to practice all their skills as well as developing a love for cooking skills.


We recommend that students use the AQA revision guide as their source of revision. The AQA guide along with past papers is a fantastic way to prepare for the exam. The AQA can be purchased on amazon.

Helpful websites and further information