Food Preparation & Nutrition
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FOOD AND NUTRITION
Food and nutrition has an important part to play in the school curriculum at Aylsham High School, leading the way nationally.
The national curriculum at KS3 states the following:
Students 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
All students from year 7 and 8 follow the KS3 national curriculum learning how to cook fresh, nutritious food and students develop knowledge, skills and understanding by making many different products. We learn about food choices, special diets, food safety, sensory analysis and how to cook and present a range of baked and savoury dishes, building on basic skills from home or from KS2 activities.
At the end of year 8 students can opt to follow a one-year GCSE course in food preparation and nutrition. At this level all students are taught food safety as well as how to create nutritious and complex meals independently.
Our GCSE curriculum is based around the 6 areas of content, stated in the WJEC Eduqas course curriculum. These are:
1. Food commodities
2. Principles of nutrition
3. Diet and good health
4. The science of food
5. Where food comes from
6. Cooking and food preparation
By studying food preparation and nutrition learners will:
- Be able to demonstrate effective and safe cooking skills by planning, preparing and cooking a variety of food commodities whilst using different cooking techniques and equipment
- Develop knowledge and understanding of the functional properties and chemical characteristics of food as well as a sound knowledge of 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, 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.
These courses equip our young people to pursue further study at college to A level, HND or degree level in catering or hospitality management, obtain work or simply develop essential life skills.
Our teaching team consists of qualified industry professionals, with a combined 75 years industry experience, who take great pride in passing on their knowledge of the hospitality industry. We also work closely with local schools within the community as well as with awarding bodies and professional organisations. In 2010-11 we were lucky to see the refurbishment of our food classrooms into two bespoke kitchens, which replicate many of the features of a professional catering kitchen. The kitchens and associated quiet study area are now used by both students and community groups.
All the food courses at all levels provide opportunities for practical hands-on experiences. We have exceptionally good relationships with many chefs and other professionals within the hospitality industry, many of whom work alongside our students, which enable us to provide a rich learning environment in which students are provided with opportunities for commercial experience. The department’s success has generated demand for event catering. These events have included the Aylsham Food Festival meal, Aylsham Show cookery theatre, young chamber business breakfasts, sports award evening and school receptions.
The students are also encouraged to enter both local and national catering and cooking competitions and have achieved a first place in the Food and Farming Challenge at the Norfolk Showground 2017, regional winner in the British Food Fortnight competition, regional winners in Springboard Future Chef every year since 2012, second place nationally in the Rotary Young Chef competition 2012 & 2018. We also take part in the Royal Norfolk Show cooking competition, working with celebrity chefs; in 2016 we achieved first place. These achievements not only contribute to coursework assignments but also make the course meaningful, build confidence and enable students to make worthwhile connections with employers and colleges.