Studying GCSE Catering involves studying the catering industry. The course offers an opportunity for you to develop your knowledge and extend your skills in a vocational context. The course in predominantly practical in its teaching and will require you to learn, develop and practice food preparation, cooking and presentation. You will learn about all aspects of the catering industry from job opportunities to Health and Safety. In addition to the GCSE you will complete the Level 2 qualification in Food Hygiene that is a nationally recognised qualification in Food Hygiene and Safety.
The course is divided into controlled assessment and exam. The final exam is worth 40% of the total. In Y10 there is a 15 hour controlled assessment worth 20% and in Y11 there is a 30 hour controlled assessment worth 40% of the final grade. Within each controlled assessment is a 3 hour practical exam.
Students will have a double lesson each week in which they will be expected to cook 2 to 4 different dishes. The ingredients will be supplied from home. It is very important that parents have an input in the recipes that their child is making so that food is not wasted. A recipe book is provided for the students but this is only a guide and as long as the key skills and methods are followed recipes may be adapted. This is a practical subject and so the teaching methods reflect this. There is a strong emphasis on safety and hygiene in the kitchen throughout the two years. Each student is required to wear a catering uniform that is supplied by school in each lesson. Students are required to complete the internationally recognized Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate in Food Safety also. The students assess each practical and identify areas to improve. Verbal feedback is given during practical sessions to enable the students to make progress. They will study nutrition, the ‘eatwell’ plate, food origins, shopping habits, commodities, sustainability, catering industry as well as much more.
Students are given homework on a weekly basis. They are expected to shop for and prepare all ingredients for practical lessons. They will need to write a detailed timeplan for each practical that they do. Often they will need to do a shopping and equipment list. There will be research tasks into commodities and other tasks. Failure to complete a timeplan for a practical will result in the student being unable to cook. If a student does not bring their ingredients an hour after school detention will be issued as a consequence. If this becomes a regular occurrence then parents will be contacted and the student may be removed off the course.
The BBC Good Food show is offered to the students yearly. There is a lunchtime timeplan club on every day that students can use to get help with work. There are extra sessions offered from 7am each morning during controlled assessment time to assist with work.