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Food Preparation and Nutrition

Food Preparation and Nutrition at Rugby High School

At Rugby High School, the Food Preparation and Nutrition department endeavours to prepare students for the future, providing them with key knowledge and skills to support positive physical and mental health throughout life, so that students will move on from RHS knowing how to be Resilient, Healthy and Successful.

Equipping students with a sound comprehension of the science of nutrition and the importance of a diverse, healthy, balanced diet is a core aim of the department’s curriculum.  Students will be supported to develop a sound understanding of the functions of key nutrients in the body, considering the impact of both beneficial and consequential dietary choices and the effects these can have across range of scenarios including moral, cultural, religious and medical needs.  Consideration of other factors such as cost, availability, environmental impact and marketing are also explored in a range of contexts.  Students will be able to apply and adapt their knowledge and understanding to make informed choices about their own needs and the needs of others, showing compassion and empathy

Learning how to prepare and cook a wide range of predominantly savoury dishes, practical activities are at the centre of the Food curriculum and students journey through the curriculum within the subject.  Supportive teaching will encourage students to learn through doing, acknowledging the responsibility they hold in their own learning as well as promoting opportunities for them to work together and support their peers.  Food safety and hygiene is of utmost importance and the correct storage, preparation, cooking and serving of food is a key taught element.  

A diverse repertoire of recipes within the Food curriculum allows students to explore where food is sourced from and how ingredients can be processed into many forms.   Practical activities not only introduce students to a multitude of different equipment, technical skills, processes and cooking methods, but also encourage their curiosity by exploring the science behind what they see happening.   Activities challenge students to explore the physical, functional and chemical properties of food.  As students progress through the curriculum increasingly complex tasks are introduced, inspiring them to be ambitious and to build on their prior knowledge and understanding.

Lessons in Food also encourage students to develop valuable transferable skills such as time management and organisation, alongside resilience, confidence and independence.  Students are supported in recognising and analysing challenges they may face to reach appropriate solutions.  The department strives for all students to enjoy cooking and develop a love for learning within the subject as well as value the importance of many aspects of the subject within a global society. 

Key Stage 3: Food Preparation and Nutrition

During KS3 students will learn how to work safely within the food room. They are introduced to a variety of utensils, tools and equipment and a range of food preparation skills so that they are equipped to determine the correct way to work with these within each of the practical assessments. In addition they learn about the various rules that need to be followed to ensure that food is safe to eat including correct storage, temperature control and the risks of food poisoning.

They will be introduced to the science of nutrition, learning about the Government guidelines for a healthy, balanced diet including the Eatwell Guide, the function of nutrients in the body and the food sources they can be gained from and the possible effects of excess and deficiency of key nutrients.  They will consider the needs of a range of target groups and how dietary requirements vary based on factors such as age, moral, cultural, social, religious or medical needs.  They will look at the legal requirements for food labelling and consider how labels and consequently packaging and marketing can influence food choice. 

Students will begin to investigate the functions and properties of some commonly used ingredients through completing food investigation practical assessments, exploring the functional, chemical and sensory properties of ingredients.  They will also be introduced to the tools of sensory analysis and nutritional evaluation to analyse and evaluate some of their food products.

Alongside this they will learn about: the relationship between food and the environment including sustainability, Fairtrade, food miles, carbon footprint, locally grown food and food waste; how food is sourced including organic farming, genetically modified foods and seasonal foods.

Food preparation practical tasks will require the students to plan their time and select appropriate resources to produce a range of savoury and sweet products which will increase in complexity as they progress through KS3.  Examples of the products students may make include: vegetable spring rolls, chicken nuggets, bread, cheesecake, vegetable pasta bake, Swiss roll, toffee meringues, lasagne, Viennese whirls, and cheese scones. 

Key Stage 4

GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition

The GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition course has focuses on practical cooking skills to ensure students develop a thorough understanding of nutrition, food provenance and the working characteristics of food materials. The qualification is delivered through a specification which is divided into five core topics, with food preparation skills being an integral part of each one:

  • Food, Nutrition and Health
  • Food Science
  • Food Safety
  • Food Choice
  • Food Provenance


The final grading of the qualification is assessed through:

  • Written examination - taken at the end of the course which is worth 50% of the final marks and GCSE grade.  The exam is 1h 45m long and consists of multiple choice questions (20 marks) and five questions, each with a number of sub questions (80 marks)
  • Non-Examination Assessment (NEA) tasks - together worth 50% of your final marks and GCSE grade, taken during the final year of the course:

Task 1 – food investigation – assessing students understanding of the working characteristics, functional and chemical properties of ingredients (30 marks).

Task 2 – food preparation – assessing students’ knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to the planning, preparation, cooking, presentation of food and application of nutrition related to a chosen task.  Students will prepare, cook and present a final menu of 3 dishes within a single period of no more than 3 hours, planning in advance how this will be achieved (70 marks).

Ongoing, detailed assessment of theory, practical and homework tasks, mock exams and practice NEA pieces of work will be used to monitor student progress throughout the course.

For more information you can view the subject specification:

GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition Specification