Abolition of Food A-Level

Now, many of you may be thinking that this of no concern to you but bear with me on this.

The Government recently announced a plan that it was going to get rid of Food Technology as an A-Level and, as a former student of this subject, I was shocked and appalled by what I was hearing. I was further dismayed when I read that this decision had been made without the consultation of the DATA (Design and Technology Association), the exam boards, all universities offering food related courses and many other professional bodies.

We are living in a time when obesity levels in children are rapidly rising, it is through education that these problems can be addressed. Young people need to be made aware of what they are eating and then to study this in detail to understand why such foods are bad for them. I, for one, learned a great deal from my time studying A-Level Food and I have always believed that education is the key to all success and so I see it necessary that the education of diet and nutrition remains.

Food Technology is not a simple vocational subject as many would believe; I spent far more of my time with my nose in a textbook than I did making pastries. I did not study this subject to take part in the Great British Bake Off, I took it to understand what I was putting into my body so that I would not become part of this obesity epidemic. Food as a material is something that we all engage with every day, so it is right that we are educated as to how to use it properly.

Abolishing Food as a subject at A-Level will end a vital academic route into careers such as nutrition and dietetics. Education in dietary needs and nutrition will be weakened by this decision as many students only become aware of good quality food industry careers through A-Level Food. This provides a specialism of the subject and industry which Science A-Levels do not.

The new Food Preparation & Nutrition GCSE should be followed by a new A-Level with sufficient academic rigour to satisfy University entry requirements. Vocational qualifications such as butchery or confectionery are not an appropriate substitute - that is like exchanging a Maths A-Level for a period working as a Junior Accountant. Ending Food as an academic discipline at A-Level will weaken the integrity of the subject at all levels which is a great concern.

The main campaign for the saving of the Food A-Level (as found here) calls for several proposals. Firstly, the creation of a new and rigorous A-Level, as opposed to removing this vital academic option altogether. It should develop as follows:

  • Reduce Food A-Level courses to just one, by replacing food technology and home economics to food science and nutrition (similar to the recent changes at GCSE).

  • Increase the science content of the A-Level representing food and its importance in today’s society, whilst meeting university science requirements and industry needs. It should also be noted that most food related degrees are awarded a BSc. at the end of study – representing the science elements studied in the qualifications.

I ask you to join with my peers and I as well as university academics and industry professionals in demanding that OFQUAL reinstate food with science as an A-Level that is separate from design and technology by signing this petition.

You can also:

  • Email the DfE directly at 2017GCSEsandAlevels.consultation@education.gsi.gov.uk and ask them to scrap the abolition of the Food A-Level.
  • Use social media to raise awareness with as many ‘food supporters’ as you can and use the hashtag ‪#‎SaveFoodTechALevel and the Twitter handle @FoodTCentre.
  • Write to your local MP and raise your concerns.

Thank you.

Photo credit Cool Things

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