The Department for Education is currently carrying out a consultation on its proposed reforms to GCSE and A level subject content for teaching from 2016. Among the various proposed changes is a proposal for removing food technology from A level Design & Technology, which is described in the following terms:
“Food technology has been removed as an endorsed route within design and technology, as feedback from higher education practitioners and subject experts indicated that it did not fit comfortably within this subject. We have decided not to develop a separate food A level, as we have done at GCSE.There are already a number of high-quality vocational qualifications available post-16 in food-related subjects, including those with a focus on food nutrition. For those students wanting to progress to a career in food, there are career-specific vocational qualifications, for example in confectionary/butchery. For students wishing to progress to a degree in food nutrition or food science, top universities offering food science/nutrition related courses have told us they are looking for students with science qualifications for entry to their courses, rather than food-related A levels.
As an organisation we have responded to the consultation on behalf of our members and our response is published here. Individuals are also able to respond - details of how to do so, including the proposed subject content, are available on the DfE's website. You are welcome to use our response as a template for your own.
I am writing to express concern that the DFE has withdrawn the Food Technology endorsed route through Design and Technology A Level, whilst there will also not be a new standalone A Level to follow suit from the newly created GCSE in Food Preparation and Nutrition.
Given that the new GCSE has been created and approved as meeting the Government's new criteria for rigorous academic subjects and it was deemed there would be sufficient demand for it, it is really surprising to see that a new A Level will not be developed. This creates an unnatural dead-end to an otherwise well developed pathway that is now also embedded in the KS1-3 curriculum.
At Farming and Countryside Education, we represent teachers and food production professionals who recognise the need for all young people to develop a better understanding of food, from primary production through to hospitality and retail. This is essential so that the next generation can adequately address the big questions of how we feed a global population of 9.4 bn and ensure food security in the UK, as well as ensuring a talent supply that can support the £100bn/year UK food industry. Other benefits of food literate young people are their improved health and wellbeing outcomes and responsible consumer habits.
We would therefore strongly suggest that the DFE reconsiders this decision, and researches the demand for and value of a food A Level, particularly in the light of the existing new KS1-3 curriculum and forthcoming GCSE, which we believe will have changed the landscape significantly.