Subject Team

Mrs R Willis (Head Of Department)
Mrs K Gamble
Mrs J Baird

Mrs A Corey
Mrs L Shaw (Technician)


Department Aims

  • To provide a workplace which stimulates, sustains and fosters an interest and love of learning.
  • To include enjoyment in the subject (s) and the experience of learning and to encourage pupils to become responsible for their own learning and future life: to take a pride in their achievements and to achieve their personal best.


GCSE  Food and Nutrition (Home Economics)

Examination Board: CCEA

What is GCSE Food & Nutrition about?


Students will learn about the nutritional content of foods and specific nutritional needs within a multicultural society, reflecting current government guidelines. They will also study how to be an effective consumer in relation to food choice, food safety and managing resources. Technological and scientific developments within the food industry will be explored.


Students will be provided with opportunities to apply their knowledge to ‘real-life’ contexts and to develop their confidence in demonstrating high level food practical skills. Skills and capabilities will be developed including communication, ICT, problem solving, self-management, working with others, managing information and creativity.


What will I study and how will I be assessed?

Component 1 Food and Nutrition 

External Examination


Component 2 Practical Food and Nutrition Controlled Assessment:

Ø  Research & Viewpoints;

Ø  Justification of choice;

Ø  Planning;

Ø  Practical activity;

Ø  Evaluation.



What can this subject lead to?

This subject will empower students; help them to develop as individuals, as contributors to society, to the economy and the environment. In addition, this GCSE provides students with academic excellence and is successful in preparing students for key stage 5 education, attendance at universities and the world of work. This qualification will give the student the preparation they need to succeed in the food, health and hospitality industries, to name a few, as well as giving them vital life skills.


A Level


Examination Board: CCEA


What is A Level Nutrition and Food Science about?

At AS level the student will gain knowledge and understanding on food choices, exploring how nutrition is a fast-moving discipline, focusing on the role of diet in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and healthy human body.  At A2 students will develop a critical appreciation of the issues affecting our food supply, how they impact upon the environment and the ethical implications. All A2 students will select an area of personal interest to study for a research project. This will provide the opportunity to develop a wide range of transferable skills and capabilities relevant to higher education and the world of work such as critical and creative thinking, decision making, problem-solving, designing a research tool, analytical skills and target setting. 

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

AS ContentAssessmentWeighting

Unit 1: Principles of Nutrition: the study of micro and macro nutrients and other dietary constituents, nutritional requirements and current dietary recommendations across the lifespan.


External Assessment50% of AS

20% of A Level

Unit 2: Diet, Lifestyle and Health: the study of current research in relation to diet, lifestyle and health.External Assessment50% of AS

20% of A Level

A2 ContentAssessmentWeighting
Unit 1:

Option 1: Food Security and Sustainability: the study of consumer behaviour in relation to food purchasing decisions and a consideration of the issues and implications of consumer choice.

Option 2: Food Safety and Quality: the study of securing a safe food supply from the primary producer to the consumer.

External Examination


30% of A Level
Unit 2: Research project: students complete a 4000 word research based assignment of their own appropriate choice.Internal Assessment

CCEA moderation

30% of A Level





Are there any particular qualities or skills I should have to study this course and to what kind of careers can it lead?

 The student should be a confident communicator, have the ability to research information from a range of communication technologies, can problem-solve, work with others and be able to use mathematics to analyse data. It is the department’s mission to enable the full potential of all learners to be achieved and recognised. To achieve this, the student needs motivation, dedication and the ability to work with facilitation and independently.

There are many career opportunities within the field of Nutrition and Food Science as scientific knowledge and research develops.  The subject can open up a range of possibilities in the world of work, both at home and worldwide. The course provides a solid foundation for further and higher education courses in Nutrition and Food Science, other related subjects and for a range of careers in areas such as dietetics, hospitality, leisure, education, food management and supply, food technology and consumerism.

The career/degree choice is not restricted to food and/or health. Students who have studied this subject have gone on to enter a variety of professions including law, accountancy, nursing, medicine, forensic science.

Entry requirements: Grade B In GCSE Food and Nutrition: Home Economics (or equivalent) or fulfilment of Portadown College AS entry requirements to enable study of this subject as a fresh/new choice A level.


Examination Board: CCEA  

What is A Level Health and Social Care about?

This qualification gives students the opportunity to study an eclectic range of subjects relevant to the health, social care and early years’ sectors: all major employers in Northern Ireland.  Areas of study include communication, physiology, social policy and psychology.

Students acquire skills that are valued in further and higher education, as well as the work place. These include research, investigation, problem solving, analysis, communication and working with others.

During the AS year students will experience one/two work experience placement(s) in a care setting such as nursery/primary/special school, a care/nursing home, GP, medical centre or a variety of hospital settings: including midwifery or the A and E department.

The rewards and benefits of work experience are real. Students will learn skills through working with other people and benefit from their experience. It builds self-esteem and develops confidence. Work experience could also make students think about a career path for their future. 

What will I study and how will I be assessed?

AS ContentAssessmentAS Weighting
Unit AS 1 Promoting Quality Care: A written report based on practice in a health/social care/early years setting. Students learn how workers apply care values, conduct and practice, legislation and policies. Students research poor quality practice in a setting.  

Internal Assessment

CCEA Moderation


33.3% of AS Level

16.7% of A Level

Unit AS 2 Communication In Care Settings: A second written report. Students explore communication skills/techniques used in a health/social care/early years setting and develop their own communication skills. 

Internal Assessment

CCEA Moderation


33.3% of AS Level

16.7% of A Level

Unit AS 3 Health and Well-being. Students learn about health and well-being, service users’ needs, the impact of ill health on individuals, health promotion and discrimination issues.  

External written examination


33.3% of AS Level

16.7% of A Level

A2 ContentAssessmentA2 Weighting
Unit A2 1 Providing Services: Students learn how services have developed, their structure, regulation and funding.  Policy, legislation and demographic characteristics are examined. Practitioner roles are explored. 

External Examination based on pre-release material



16.7% of A level


Unit A2 2 & 3: two other units will be studied from the topics below:

  • Body Systems and Physiological Disorders
  • Health Promotion
  • Supporting the Family
  • Understanding Human Behaviour
  • Human Nutrition

Topics chosen will take into account the students’ views and opinions on those best suited to the next level of education or workplace. 

Internal Assessment

CCEA Moderation

Each unit 16.7% of A Level

Are there any particular qualities or skills I should have to study this course and to what kind of careers can it lead?

You should enjoy working with others, communicating orally and in written form, planning your own learning and be able to meet deadlines. The ability to work independently is essential!

This is an ideal course for students who want a broad background in health and social care. Many students with a qualification in GCE Health and Social Care go on to degree-level study in a variety of subjects such as health studies, social policy, social science, social studies, psychology, nursing, paramedics, counselling, health-visiting and/or social work. Education is a further career direction. Other students go on to complete a BTEC Diploma in Health and Social Care. Some students go straight into employment in the fields of health and social care. 

Entry requirements: Grade B in GCSE English Language or GCSE English Literature.


Exam Board: AQA (Linear)

From September 2015 A-Level Psychology is a linear qualification.  Linear means that students will sit all the AS exams at the end of their AS course. If they choose to complete the second year of Psychology, they will have to ‘cash in’ their AS and complete all exams for their A-Level Psychology.  

Areas of Study at AS level include: 

  1. Social influence
  2. Memory
  3. Attachment
  4. Approaches in psychology
  5. Psychopathology
  6. Research methods

Assessments : 

Paper 1 Compulsory content 1-3 above 

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 72 marks in total
  • 50% of AS

Paper 2 Compulsory content 4-6 above 

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 72 marks in total
  • 50% of AS

Areas of Study at A2 include:

  1. Social influence
  2. Memory
  3. Attachment
  4. Psychopathology
  5. Approaches in psychology
  6. Biopsychology
  7. Research methods
  8. Issues and debates in psychology 

This is followed by a 3 further topics from 3 different options.

(Either Relationships or Gender, Schizophrenia or Eating behaviour and Forensic Psychology.  All to be decided by subject teacher at beginning of A2) 


Paper 1- Compulsory content 1-4

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 96 marks in total
  • 33.3% of A-Level 

Paper 2 – Compulsory content 5-7

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 96 marks in total
  • 33.3% of A-Level 

Paper 3 –  Compulsory content 8 above and one topic from 3 different options

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 96 marks in total
  • 33.3% of A-Level 

Mathematical requirements 

In order to be able to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in psychology, students need to have been taught, and to have acquired competence in the appropriate areas of mathematics as indicated in the AQA specification.  

Overall, at least 10% of the marks in assessments for psychology will require the use of mathematical skills.  These skills will be applied in the context of AS and A-level Psychology and will be at least the standard higher tier GCSE mathematics.

Entry Requirements: Grades AAB in any combination of the following subjects: Mathematics, English (Language or Literature) and Science. Entry to this course may also be considered from those with a strong performance at GCSE at the discretion of the Head of Department/SLT.

Department News / Events

2018 Top CCEA Award for Nutrition and Food Science

Molly Gordon was ranked 1st in Northern Ireland for A Level Nutrition and Food Science.

From Farm to Fork

Year 14 Nutrition and Food Science students visited Moy Park Seagoe for a practical application of the importance of food safety. A talk and a tour of the factory addressed food safety as a healthy priority and how it is a shared responsibility from farm to fork.


Sandra Meredith and Mrs Willis attend a British Nutrition Awards ceremony to celebrate Sandra receiving the top price in AS exam performance.

Cherith was top Home Economics CCEA candidate NI 2012.


GCSE Success


A LEVEL Success






British Nutrition Foundation A Level Module 2 Award


This presentation was made at the Royal College of Physicians in London and was presented by Professor Beddington.

Consumer Council Module 4 Award




A selection of the year 14 HSC students 2015.

Amy Carswell:

‘I’ve applied to study for a degree in Nursing after my A-levels in Health and Social Care, H.E. and Biology.  Studying Health and Social Care has taught me valuable skills which are transferable to a whole range of settings. I feel confident and am ready for degree level study as this subject has taught me how to manage my time well on portfolio units and research effectively. I’ve also liked the balance between the portfolios and external exam units as it has helped me to address the ways I work most effectively’.

Amy Pedlow and Eden Magwood – HSC students 2015 –  Amy stated: ‘I took part in a HSC placement in Seagoe Primary school in Portadown.  I thoroughly enjoyed this experience as it taught me many things about primary school teaching. It gave me an insight into the way lessons are prepared and the way children learn. HSC as a subject has enhanced my confidence when speaking with others and definitely helped with my interview for University entry.’

Educational Visits / Trips


Psychology Students attend Queen’s University Conference  

A-Level Psychology students; Kerry Black, Emma Dougan, Ola Falat and Karolina Pazeraite attended and participated in the recent 4th Annual A Level Psychology Conference held at The Great Hall, Queen’s University Belfast (Run by The British Psychological Society NI).  The girls presented the findings of their research which was entitled “Caffeine enhances your memory” and competed against 8 other schools.  The girls gave an excellent presentation and were commended highly on their performance.


Three AS Psychology students attended the 3rd Annual A-Level Psychology Conference at Queens University on the 1st of December.  They had to give a 10 minute presentation on the findings of their research on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Students from other schools also participated, with Banbridge Academy the winners at AS.



Home Economics, Psychology, Economics and Business Studies combined for the annual trip to Traditional Christmas Continental Market in Belfast.

Forty five PC students and staff were able to soak up the Christmas atmosphere, avail of the infamous culinary delights; including a range of products such as Italian nougat, Belgian chocolates, French tarts. Rare meat burgers from around the World such as Alligator, Impala, Kangaroo and Wild Boar were also consumed.  And, of course, some Christmas shopping was enjoyed.


Nutrition and Food Science provides the students with academic excellence and is successful in preparing kids for attendance at universities and/or the world of work. This qualification will give young people the preparation they need to succeed in many industries for example: food, health and hospitality.

  • The global food and beverage industry is growing at 3.5% a year. There are key trends for new product development in health, convenience, naturality and sustainability.
  • Health Care is Booming.
  • lists thousands of Hotel & Catering jobs throughout Northern Ireland NI.

What University and career choices are open to you if you study Food & Nutrition?

Some of the many career opportunities include: Business & Industry, Food science and Product development, Hospitality and Food retailing, General retailing, Dietetics and Nutrition, Education and Teaching, Environmental Health, Tourism.  The diverse nature of the course also enables pupils to enter a wide range of consumer-related areas, such as marketing and management-related activities as well as customer services, financial services, care professions and social services and voluntary agencies.

Check out the Undergraduate Degrees available at Queen’s University Belfast  e.g. BSc Hons Food and Nutrition with DIS/DAS

Check out the Undergraduate Degrees available at University of Ulster e.g. BSc Hons Dietetics, BSc Hons Human Nutrition with DIS/DAS

The College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) offer a wide range of courses starting at Post 5th Form level right up to Degree level available in both full time and part time.  Take a look at what they have on offer e.g. BSc Food Technology, BSc (Hons) Food Management and Marketing


Chloe Brown – Studying Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition at QUB – quote:

“HE can be applied to a range of subjects including Biology, HSC and PE.  The units of work undertaken are interesting, diverse and Mrs Willis and Miss Lyttle ensure the lessons are engaging for each pupil.  The coursework is beneficial in helping equip students for University as we gained independent skills, enabled us to conduct questionnaires, analyse data and execute research individually.  We became experienced at Harvard referencing and understanding the importance of using reliable academic resources. We became fully confident in producing essays, making the transition from A level to University easier.”

Gillian King, studying medicine at QUB – quote:

“H.E. is great foundation for Medicine as it develops your skills in researching and critically reviewing literature.  It has taught me to reference using the Harvard system which has been such an advantage writing essays from the beginning of my first trimester.  It also provided me with a good knowledge of nutritionally related disorders, all of which I am required to study. The HE course is very current on health initiatives.  And the craic is great!”