The Food Teachers Centre Campaign to Save the Food Technology A-level
A campaign has been launched to keep Food Technology A-Level on the curriculum.
Earlier this year it was announced that an enhanced GCSE in Food was to be introduced, but now it has emerged that the A-Level is set to be scrapped from 2017.
The move has angered the Food Teachers Centre, which is now urging people to take action and back their campaign to keep the subject taught in schools.
Louise Davies, founder of the Food Teachers Centre, said: “We were devastated to hear last week that A level food will not be developed and continued. This will have such an impact of future students.
“This decision appears based upon past or out of date findings rather than the future of the subject and appears inconsistent with the other policies concerning people’s understanding of health and nutrition, and School Food policies.”
The Government says that the decision has been taken because of the low numbers enrolling on the course, and the fact that university courses prefer students studying Food Science to have science-based A-levels. But Louise believes that the view is shortsighted, and does not take into account changes to the GCSE, which would have been an ideal foundation for further studies.
She said: “Due to this government’s intelligent review of the national curriculum – making D&T Cooking and Nutrition compulsory KS3 from 2014 and developing a new GCSE for 2016 the numbers studying at A-Level looked certain to increase. Pre 2014 the subject was optional and numbers doing A level always suffered as a consequence.
“The statement given to explain the decision not to develop an A Level states that some Universities prefer science for food degree courses. But again this is because in the past the food course has been D&T and about design. The projected course that would lead from the new GCSE based on rigorously academic food science and nutrition could have been an excellent foundation for a Food Science-Technology degree, and many representatives indicated approval for this during the GCSE consultation.”
There is a widely publicised shortage of highly skilled and trained people entering the hospitality sector, and Louise believes that the decision to remove the A-Level will only exacerbate the problem.
She said: “There are a wide range of students who choose to take Food A Level courses. Some are en route to university for Food Science courses, and take Food alongside other sciences. This opportunity should continue as science qualifications do not offer a depth of food science and nutrition, nor the opportunity to apply this when cooking and working with food. This is important if we are to achieve a generation well prepared to move into a number of sectors such as community and public health, food science and food technology, food product development, as well as the culinary arts.
“These food related sectors of employment are huge in the UK (much larger than the engineering sector), and have many employment opportunities as they are seriously short of qualified staff. “Routes to these careers will be severely limited due to the majority of choices on offer being craft or technical courses (Professional Cookery, Hospitality). We need an academic route – rigorous and challenging that has applied understanding to address the public health issues this country faces. All people (no matter what their role in food sector) will benefit from a broad understanding of food choice and nutrition.
“Also, a major concern of the teaching profession is that this decision removes the only clear route to becoming a food teacher. One of the key criteria of a teaching specialism is that you need to have a practical understanding of the subject you will teach. It is important for the future that we have as many primary and secondary teachers as possible with a good underpinning in food science and nutrition. The public health agenda depends upon this.”
The Food Teachers Centre is encouraging people to lobby for the decision to be reconsidered by emailing their local MP and Nick Gibb (firstname.lastname@example.org), responding to the consultation of D&T A level (Question 2a) and ask for Food A Level to be reconsidered or at least consulted on so that food industry, universities and teachers can have their say. (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/gcse-and-a-level-reform-content-for-teaching-from-september-2017) and by emailing the DfE direct 2017GCSEsandAlevels.email@example.com
You can also follow their campaign on Twitter @FoodTCentre and #savefoodtechAlevel
For more on the new Food GCSE click here