Food & Nutrition
Food and Nutrition is one of the core subjects that underpins the wellbeing agenda at Alleyn’s. The subject aims to empower our pupils with an understanding of the essentials of healthy eating, so that they can set their own goals and pursue nutritional wellbeing as a priority at all stages in life.
The relationship between diet and health lies at the heart of the subject and pupils consider questions such as: how do we optimise the nutritional value of ingredients? Is fish a superfood? And what if the world went vegetarian? Food provenance and the environmental impact of food sourcing stimulates classroom discussions around wider ethical and socio-economic issues facing society including fair trade, sustainability and the use of additives and genetic modification in food. Pupils are encouraged to critically analyse the food choices they make for themselves and the impact this can have on their health, the environment and other people.
Throughout their study of Food and Nutrition, our pupils learn to prepare a repertoire of mostly savoury, nutritionally-balanced dishes. With a large practical component, pupils are expected to plan their own menus and express their creativity, while learning increasingly complex technical skills such as pastry-making, the preparation of meat, portioning a chicken and filleting fish. Teamworking is a core part of the practical subject but ultimately our aim is to provide pupils with the skills they need to take responsibility for monitoring and maintaining their wellbeing.
Lower School pupils (Years 7 and 8) enjoy a largely practical Food and Nutrition curriculum, with pupils investigating the meaning of a balanced diet (including the Eatwell Guide), the major food groups, essential nutrients and food science. Additionally, our Year 8 pupils investigate the factors affecting food choices such as nutrition, budget, religion, ethics, marketing and the needs of people with conditions such as diabetes or coeliac disease. Lower School pupils may attend our biennial trip to Venice, compete in cookery competitions such as Form Masterchef and attend an after school cookery club.
Middle School pupils (Years 9, 10 and 11) may elect to study GCSE Food and Nutrition as a choice selected from one of the creative option subjects. Covering topics such as the relationship between diet and health, food safety and food science, as well as practical cookery, pupils can also enjoy trips to Borough Market and participate in House MasterChef, Molecular Gastronomy Club, and our Duke of Edinburgh or Middle School Cookery Clubs. We also offer 5-week enrichment classes to Years 11 and 12 focussing on how to cook a variety of cheap and nutritious meals as a university student.
We actively encourage pupils to think independently, build knowledge and increase their practical skills.