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Food Preparation & Nutrition

Food Preparation and Nutrition (FPN), together with Design Technology are inspiring, rigorous and practical subjects. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products and dishes that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.

In FPN, students acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on other subjects such as DT, Science, Mathematics, Geography, Religious Studies, History, ICT and Art. They learn to become resourceful, innovative and capable citizens.

High-quality Design Technology and Food & Nutrition education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth, health and wellbeing of the nation and through evaluation of products students develop a critical understanding of their impact on daily life and the wider world.

Food is a vital part of our daily lives and is absolutely essential for life. As our students develop to become young adults, it is imperative that they acquire the knowledge, confidence and skills needed to make healthy food & lifestyle choices.

In Westfield Academy, students will develop their knowledge and understanding of nutrition, healthy eating, food preparation, hygiene, cooking techniques, and sensory characteristics.


The FPN department has two fully equipped specialist food rooms. The food rooms offer excellent facilities for the teaching of food with a variety of equipment and resources available to all students.

Key Stage 3

In Years 7 & 8, Food Preparation & Nutrition (FPN) is taught in small, mixed form classes of 18–23 students. To enhance students' experience in FPN, as well as in Design Technology, students are given the opportunity to complete a unit of learning in each discipline per term under Design Technology and FPN via a rotation system.

Both Year 7 & 8 students will complete a rotation in any of the disciples as shown in the example below:

  • Autumn term – Food Preparation and Nutrition
  • Spring term – Product Design
  • Summer term – Textiles 

In Key Stage 3 FPN, students are taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating as set out in the National Curriculum. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables students to acquire knowledge and skills in feeding themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life. This would also instil a love of cooking in students whilst developing their creativity in exploring different ingredients and design or invent new dishes in the process.

The curriculum focuses on students understanding and applying the principles of the Eatwell guide. This addresses National Health issues such as obesity, diabetes, coronary heart diseases and other illness. The curriculum provides students with an awareness of these illnesses via learning the principles of the Eatwell guide in addition to the 8 Tips to Healthy Eating in addition to a range of other topics. 

By the end of each rotation, students would acquire the following:

  • Knowledge in preparing and cooking food safely to avoid food poisoning.
  • Learn how to plan and cook healthy & varied diet for themselves and their families following the government's guidelines on healthy eating such as the Eatwell guide.
  • Acquire a range of cooking skills / techniques to cook savoury and sweet dishes.
  • Learn where and how food is grown as well as the characteristics / functions of ingredients in cooking.
  • Take part in investigating food science via experiments to understanding the functional and chemical properties of ingredients used in cooking / recipes. 
  • Acquire a range of technical skills in making the following dishes; salad sticks via exploring classic vegetable cuts, couscous with roasted vegetables, seeded plaited / shaped bread, scone based pizza, chicken nuggets, kedgeree, lasagne, brownie, Thai green curry, amongst others.

Key Stage 4

In Key Stage 4, students study AQA GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition (8585).

This GCSE specification covers a range of food related skills and knowledge including Cooking and Presentation of Food, Sensory Evaluation, Nutrition, Food Science, New Product Development, Healthy Eating and Environmental Issues.

The National Curriculum FPN GCSE subject content sets out the knowledge, understanding and skills common to all GCSE specifications in food preparation and nutrition to ensure progression from KS3 National Curriculum requirements and the possibility of development for further study. It provides the framework within which awarding organisations create the detail of the subject specification.

In Westfield Academy, the GCSE specifications in food preparation and nutrition reflects the AQA exam board’s subject aims and learning outcomes, which is to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to cook and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating. Students are encouraged to cook, and are empowered to make informed decisions about further learning opportunities and career pathways, as well as develop vital life skills that enable them to feed themselves and others affordably and nutritiously, now and later in life.

In studying food preparation and nutrition, students learn the following knowledge and skills: 

  • Demonstrate effective and safe cooking skills by planning, preparing and cooking using a variety of food commodities, cooking techniques and equipment.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the functional properties and chemical processes as well as 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, and 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.

Year 9

In Year 9, students complete 16 units under the following topics:

  • Food safety (Food spoilage and contamination, and the Principles of food safety)
  • Food, Nutrition and Health (nutrients, Nutritional needs & health)
  • Aspects of Food choice (Sensory evaluation)

They also acquire a wide range of technical skills as set out by the specification, these including weighing, measuring, preparing ingredients and equipment, correct cooking times, testing for readiness and sensory testing.

  • Knife skills including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish or alternatives.
  • Preparing fruit and vegetables.
  • Using the cooker including the hob, grill and oven.
  • Use of equipment including blenders, food processors, mixers, pasta machines and microwave ovens.
  • Cooking methods including steaming, boiling, simmering, blanching, poaching and frying.
  • Techniques to prepare, cook and combine different ingredients.
  • Sauce making including starch based, reduction and emulsions.
  • Tenderising and marinating different ingredients.
  • Making dough including bread, pastry and pasta.
  • Use of raising agents including eggs, chemical, steam and biological.
  • Setting of mixtures through use of heat and egg protein.

Technical skills

They demonstrate a range of technical skills by completing the following units – bread, pastry, cakes, savoury dishes, piping skills including making mini fruit meringues and various other dishes. They finally end the year by taking part in a Ready Steady Cook competition to demonstrate and showcase their skills.

Year 10

In Year 10, students further complete 16 units under the following topics:

  • Food science (cooking of food & heat transfer and functional & chemical properties of food).
  • Food choice (factors affecting food choice, British and international cuisines and sensory evaluation).
  • Food provenance (environmental impact & sustainability, and processing & production).

They also acquire new technical skills whilst building on the skills acquired in Year 9 as set out by the specification and as stated above.

Technical skills

Students in Year 10 complete a series of medium to complex skill dishes in preparation towards their GCSE practical exam in Year 11. The skills acquired include jointing, portioning, de-boning, de-skinning & filleting chicken. Students also demonstrate a range of medium to complex skill dishes by producing both sweet and savoury dishes. Finally, students are given the opportunity to complete mini NEA 1 and NEA 2 tasks in preparation towards their NEA projects in Year 11.

Year 11

The focus in Year 11 is to build on the knowledge and skills taught throughout Years 9 & 10, therefore students will be expected to apply their knowledge and understanding of the specification from Years 9 & 10 programmes of study. They also demonstrate a wide range of practical skills whilst completing the Non-Exam Assessments (NEA 1 & 2). The final written paper will assess their theoretical knowledge and understanding of the subject content of the AQA specification.

With consideration to the above, the scheme of learning has been developed for Year 11 students studying AQA GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition, this focuses on giving students the necessary skills and subject knowledge needed for the NEA’s and final examination in Year 11. The programme of study is as follows:

  • Autumn term
    • Complete outstanding units
    • Review & consolidate all topics
    • Complete NEA 1 – Food science investigation task
  • Spring term
    • Start NEA 2 – Food preparation task
    • Revision for mock exams
    • Mock exams
  • Summer term
    • Complete NEA 2 – Food preparation task
    • Revision for written exams


Key Stage 5

Currently, the department is looking into offering Food Preparation and Nutrition at Sixth Form level in the near future.

Exams & Assessment

Key Stage 3

Students are assessed as follows:

  • Daily class quizzes
  • Practical work assessment
  • Termly tests
Key Stage 4

Exams board for GCSE is AQA.

In Years 9 & 10, students complete various assessments during their programme of study, this includes:

  • Daily consolidation quizzes (in-class assessment)
  • End of topic tests
  • Termly tests for both theory knowledge and practical work

In Year 11, students complete a range of assessments in preparation towards their final GCSE. They MUST complete 2 NEA tasks (Non-Exams Assessment) which is 50% of their final GCSE grade, as well as a final written paper which is also 50% of their final GCSE grade (see below for the breakdown).

  • Practice exam questions (in-class assessments)
  • End of term assessment
  • Mock exams assessment
  • NEA 1 – 15% of final GCSE grade
  • NEA 2 – 35% of final GCSE grade
  • Written exams – 50% of final GCSE grade

Enrichment & Extracurricular

These change throughout the year according to needs and requests from students, but we currently run:

  • A lunchtime revision & catch-up session
  • A weekly after school cooking club
  • We are currently looking at taking part in competitions such as the Rotary chef competition.
  • Opportunities for students to complete a skills' aspect of the Duke of Edinburg Award via baking.
  • Opportunities for students to enter into cooking competitions such as the Junior Bake Off. 

The department organises annual KS4 skills workshops to West Herts College.

The department is seeking new opportunities to visit or invite external speakers to further enrich students’ knowledge and skills.

If you would like to get in touch, please e-mail:


  • Access to the online GCSE AQA Food Preparation and Nutrition by Anita Tull & Garry Littlewood.
  • Access to a FPN revision pack containing an AQA GCSE Revision book by Hodder Education, a CGP exam practice workbook, a set of revision flash cards and a set of pens.
  • The department is currently exploring the introduction and use of an online subscription service to enhance learning particularly at Key Stage 3.
  • Parents of students also make a payment towards ingredients for practical cooking lessons, this payment is made via parent mail. This system is and has been very successful as it reduces disruption to learning as ingredients for practical lessons are purchased by the school.
Reading lists

Our hope is that through Food Preparation and Nutrition, students are provided with a context through which to explore the richness, pleasure and variety that food adds to life.