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Design and Technology: Food Preparation and Nutrition at Bedale High School

At Bedale High School Design and Technology subjects (resistant materials, textiles and food) are studied on a carousel rota at Key Stage 3 (KS3), and then students can opt for this subject at GCSE in Key Stage 4 (KS4). This subject has existed for many years but under other subject headings. The subject has been taught as domestic science, home economics, food technology and catering. Throughout the many subject changes, we have always, believed that practical cookery is vital with a sound knowledge of nutrition and health in order to build life skills that will be beneficial even if the subject is not taken as an option or into a career. This philosophy continues to be a key thread through classes both in KS3 and KS4 today.


KS3 topics:

Students complete 2 extended projects. The first is “The healthy snack café”. This topic covers hygiene and safety in the food room, the use of equipment, healthy eating, adaptation of recipes to make them healthier, energy balance, the importance of seasonal produce, eating a healthy breakfast, sensory evaluation and planning. Practical skills include basic knife skills, use of the hob and the oven, forming, shaping, finishing techniques. Practical products include tomato and basil soup, cheese and tomato melts, savoury triangles, fruit crumble, breakfast muffins, sweet or savoury scones.

The second project is “main family meals for a farm shop”. This topic builds on the healthy eating work completed in year 7. Nutrition function and source are studied and students are encouraged to look at how recipes can be remodelled using nutritional databases. In this topic we look at special diets, costing food products, locally sourced food, the science behind some food ingredients and the safe preparation, storage and cooking of high risk foods. Practical work includes Vegetable curry, ratatouille, macaroni cheese, pizza with a bread base, Bolognese, chilli con carne, flavoured mashed potato and lasagne.

KS4 topics:

At the start of the GCSE students will study both practical and theoretical skills in line with the AQA syllabus. Theory based work includes the following areas:

  • Nutrition and healthy eating
  • The chemical and functional properties of ingredients in our foods – what ingredients do when they are heated, mixed or other ingredients are added (coagulation, dextrinization, plasticity, gluten formation, denaturation of protein, caramelisation, setting and gelling, foams, emulsions, gelatinisation etc.)
  • Nutritional needs of different ages and lifestyles
  • Finishing techniques
  • Cooking of food and heat transfer
  • Food safety
  • Food choice
  • Food provenance

Practical work will be both scientific (students will be asked to carry out food experimentation to prove/disprove a particular hypothesis) and practical cookery where dishes will be made and sent home. Practical cookery skills will include:

  • Bread making – enriched and sweet doughs
  • Pastry making – shortcrust, rough puff, choux
  • Cake making – cakes made with the different methods
  • Sauce and soup making – different ways of thickening a sauce/soup
  • Meat, poultry and fish portioning and cooking methods
  • Pasta making
  • Dishes using foams such as meringue
  • Use of gelling agents to set desserts
  • Fruit and vegetable preparation
  • Use of different cooking methods such as boiling, roasting and baking

Students will look at the chemical and functional properties of carbohydrates.  They will explore, through scientific experimentation, the function of gluten in bread and pasta making, gelatinisation, dextrinization and caramelisation (the effects of moist and dry heat on carbohydrates), function of pastry ingredients and tips for successful pastry. Students will also research other food issues such as GM foods, organic foods and animal welfare and heat transfer. Practical work will be a mixture of scientific experimentation and practical dishes that support the theory such as bread making, homemade pasta dishes, caramelised onion and cheese quichelets, cheese and bacon potato layer bake.

Non Exam Assessment is carried out in Year 11.

NEA1 begins in September and is worth 15% of the mark. This is a food science experiment where students are given a task to investigate through experimentation and then write up the results.

NEA 2 begins just before Christmas. This is worth 35% of the mark. Students are given a task and have to research and plan to make a selection of sweet and savoury dishes. This culminates in a 3 hour practical exam in February. Students will then be expected to write an evaluation based on what they have made.

Once NEA2 is handed in time is spent in preparation for a 1 hour 45 minute written exam worth 50% of the mark.


Students are assessed through practical and written classwork, end of topic tests and homework in both KS3 and KS4. Students may at times be asked to peer assess their partners work which is linked to a criteria list. Students are expected to annotate their work using green pen to respond to teacher questions and comments.

At GCSE, Non-exam assessment (NEA) projects are assessed by the teacher in line with exam board criteria and mark schemes. Samples of the NEA are moderated by an outside assessor who works for the exam board.


Homework is to support work undertaken in class and to help students prepare for assessed or examined work.  Preparation of practical ingredients are also set into support practical lessons.

Extracurricular opportunities

Students are able to catch up with their studies or complete practical work in a lunch time session.