Food Preparation and Nutrition

What does the national curriculum say?

As part of their work with food, pupils should be taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Instilling a love of cooking in pupils will also open a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity. 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.”

KS3 pupils should be 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

Link to full document here


Year 7 Term 1: Skills in food

‘Skills in Food’ introduces students to the fundamentals of diet, nutrition and health. They will learn basic cooking skills; including knife skills, heat control and safe working practices whilst considering sensory qualities and functions of a range of ingredients. They will prepare and cook dishes which allow them to demonstrate and develop skills which will used throughout KS3 and beyond.

Year 7 Term 2:  Nutrients

In this unit we students will explore the different nutrients needed by the body, their function, and foods which provide them.  We will look at differences between macro and micro nutrients and how nutrient deficiencies can affect the body.  Students will cook a range of healthy dishes which consider the advice of the Eatwell Guide whilst continuing to build practical skills.

Practical lessons:

Year 7 Term 3: World Foods

In this unit, students will prepare and cook a range of traditional dishes from countries around the world.  They will research into traditional cuisines and consider why particular dishes are served.  They will learn about the origins of ingredients and how climate and geography play a part in their availability.  The dishes cooked will enable students to build on and develop their practical skills.

Practical lessons:

Year 8 Term 1:  Bread and cheese

In this unit, students will learn about how bread is one of oldest prepared foods and why it is a staple food for many countries around the world.  They will learn about the science behind baking of bread and how this provides the basis for the baking of many different kinds of bread.  Students will prepare and cook a range of bread recipes using different raising agents and will look at ways of adapting recipes and making use of leftovers.

Practical lessons:

Year 8 Term 2:  Great British Bake Off

In this unit, students will learn about the different methods of cake making and how aeration of baked goods is achieved through chemical, mechanical and biological methods.  They will investigate the different functions of ingredients and how these can be exploited to achieve a range of different cakes.  Students will cook a range of cakes, each recipe using a different cake making method.  They will be given the opportunity to design and make celebration cupcakes of their choice.

Practical lessons:

Year 8 Term 3:  Special Diets

In this unit students will learn about special diets and the reasons why people follow them.  They will look at possible nutrient deficiencies caused by eliminating foods from the diet and the ways a balanced diet can still be achieved.  Students will prepare and cook a range of dishes which have been adapted to suit special dietary needs.

Practical lessons:

Year 9 Term 1:  Pasta

In this unit, students will learn the skill of making fresh pasta and how this versatile staple can be used in a wide variety of dishes.  They will experiment in making pasta of different flavours and colours, in addition to different pasta shapes and how these carry sauces.  They will learn how to make both reduction and starch-based sauces and use these to make a range of complex pasta dishes.

**This unit will prepare students particularly well if they choose to study GCSE Food.

Practical lessons:

Year 9 Term 2:  Pastry

This unit will focus on the skill of pastry making.  Students will learn how to make the different types of pastry and dishes they are suitable for.  They will learn about standard component pastries and the advantages and disadvantages of using these.  They will make a range of sweet and savoury pastry dishes and look at pastry finishing techniques.

Practical lessons:

Year 9 Term 3:  Eco Cafe

In this unit students will learn about the wider social, moral and environmental issues associated with food production.  They will cook at range of dishes, considering the origins of the ingredients and how they have been produced.  Students will learn how to develop dishes and use alternative ingredients which may be more sustainable.

Practical lessons:



AQA GCSE 9-1 Food Preparation and Nutrition

Why choose AQA for GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition?

GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition is an exciting and creative course which 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.

Food preparation skills are integrated into five core topics:

  • Food, nutrition and health
  • Food science
  • Food safety
  • Food choice
  • Food provenance.

Upon completion of this course, students will be qualified to go on to further study, or embark on an apprenticeship or full-time career in the catering or food industries.

Course structure:

Year 10

Year 10 is spent studying the five core topics through a mixture of theory and practical work.  Practical work could include product analysis, nutritional analysis, practical investigations and preparing and cooking full dishes.

Students are always encouraged to cook all dishes and their components from scratch which will equip them with the skills which garner the higher marks in their assessments in year 11.

They are assessed across 12 practical skill areas:

  1. General practical skills
  2. Knife skills
  3. Preparing fruit and vegetables
  4. Use of the cooker
  5. Use of equipment
  6. Cooking methods
  7. Preparing, combining, shaping
  8. Sauce making
  9. Tenderising and marinating
  10. Dough
  11. Raising agents
  12. Setting mixtures

The theory and practical skills are taught through a number of units using real life scenarios.

Year 10 Units:

  • Nutrients Revisited
  • Traditional Foods
  • Functional and chemical properties of foods
  • Diet, nutrition and health
  • Buying, storing, preparing, cooking
  • Environmental impact and sustainability of foods
  • Factors that influence food choice

Year 11

More information and the full specification can be found here

Useful books

Useful websites