A new survey finds that since A-levels in food were abolished, food education throughout secondary schools has declined.
The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) and the Food Teachers Centre (FTC) have published the results of a survey looking at the impact of removing the A-level in 2018; this includes both Food Technology and Home Economics.
The survey of English secondary school food teachers has found that a quarter of schools have since reduced food education at KS3 and 15% of schools have reduced teaching of the subject at KS4. Without an A-level, students have no way to continue with food education post-GSCE and teachers have reported that this has impacted on take-up of Food GCSE . Furthermore, a quarter of schools have seen a reduction in food education funding and the subject’s status appears to be sadly declining.
The declining status of food education is particularly disheartening considering the level of student interest. Over 6,000 students expressed interest in the A-level in 2018 and 2019 and 98% believe the A-level should be reintroduced. Finding staff to teach food education continues to be a challenge with a lack of capacity and subject-specific knowledge.
The BNF and FTC make recommendations including a call for a review of demand for A-level food, ensuring all schools offer the minimum recommended by the FELL Report, or at the very least, the compulsory minimum cooking curriculum introduced in 2014. You can read the full report and recommendations here.