Our Lady's Abingdon - Food


Overview of the Food curriculum at OLA

Happily, after a brief absence, Food has found its way back on to the curriculum at OLA!  It has been greeted with great enthusiasm by the pupils and we have hit the ground running. The subject is taught by 2 Food teachers – Ms Fiona Gable and Mrs Teni Berg.

Food at KS3

Mrs Berg teaches years 7 and 8.  In year 7 the pupils learn about health and hygiene, cooking methods, terminology and keywords.  The emphasis is on Safety in the Food room so they have an excellent grounding from the outset.

In year 8, armed with a good level of cooking skills, pupils start to learn about Food from around the world in different countries and cultures.  Through this they come to understand the different ingredients and food/nutritional requirements and are able to modify recipes to suit certain tastes/special diets.

As yet year 9 do not have Food on their timetable, but hopefully next year will see this change.  In the meantime, year 9 are offered an after-school Food club on a Tuesday by Ms Gable in which they become familiar with some of the Foods and skills required for GCSE level.  Most of the pupils who attend have expressed a desire to study Food at GCSE.


Year 10 sees pupils who have opted for Food embark on the GCSE Food course for 2 years with Ms Gable. Once the GCSE course starts, pupils learn in much more detail about the science of nutrients and how they react in various cooking situations.  This is all reinforced by weekly cooking sessions.

Year 11 sees Coursework begin.  Pupils have 2 practical examinations.  The first is a Food Practical Investigation where students, having chosen 1 task out of 3 offered, set about proving/disproving a hypothesis set around the chosen task.  The second piece of coursework is a Food Preparation task.  For this pupils choose a task from 3 offered then practice skills in the run up to the final 3-hour practical, where they cook and present a 3-course meal.

The summer term sees the pupils sit a 1 hour 45-minute written exam covering multiple choice and long answer questions, consolidating their learning over the 2 years.

WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Food Science and Nutrition

I am delighted we are now offering this course to the 6th form, covering both year 12 and 13. We launched this in September this year and I hope we will attract more pupils as time goes on.  There are 3 units to cover – Unit 1 in year 12 and units 2 and 4 in year 13.  Some of the course is marked internally, other parts externally.

For this course pupils work much more independently and learn the science of food in far greater depth.  They have case studies and written exams all underpinned by a growing knowledge of nutrients’ characteristics and high level food skills.  The course results in a Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction * and is recognised by a lot of Universities as an entry qualification.