Nutrition and Food Science (subjects: Nutrition and Food Science, Health & Social Care and Psychology)

Mrs R Willis (Head of Department)
Mrs K Gamble
Mrs J Baird
Mrs A Corey
Mrs L Shaw (Technician)

  • 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:

  • Research & Viewpoints;
  • Justification of choice;
  • Planning;
  • Practical activity;
  • 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.


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 ABB in any combination of the following subjects: Mathematics (Higher Tier), 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.

Nutrition and Food Science provides the students with academic excellence and is successful in preparing them 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.

Potential Employment opportunities after school or university!

For example:

  • The global food and grocery retail market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of5.0% from 2020 to 2027, (Grandviewresearch, 2000)
  • There are key trends for new product development in health, convenience, naturality and sustainability.
  • Health Care is Booming. “Healthcare is an attractive asset class for investors, with a growing and ageing population driving the need for increased medical and social care,” Tim Whittard, AJM Healthcare, 2022.
  • lists thousands of Hotel & Catering jobs throughout Northern Ireland NI.

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

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


Jessie Kernaghan – Studied Medicine – qualified 2022.

“NFS can be applied to a range of subjects including Biology. The units of work undertaken are interesting, diverse and Mrs Willis and Mrs Gamble ensure the lessons are engaging. The A2 research report is beneficial in helping equip students for University as we gained independent skills, taught us how to design and conduct questionnaires, analyse data and draw logical conclusions. We became experienced at Harvard referencing and understanding the importance of using reliable academic resources”.

Emily McCormick  – currently studying Environmental health at University of Ulster.

“NFS provided me with a good knowledge of food safety which I am required to study at University. The course is also very current on health initiatives. We became fully confident in producing essays, making the transition from A level to University easier.”

Amy Pedlow – studied Primary school teaching at Stranmillis. Now teaching at Edenderry Primary school.

“I absolutely enjoyed every moment of both NFS and HSC at the college. The lessons were interesting and the teachers worked hard to ensure we were well prepared for our A levels and university. I have been able to adapt some of their teaching and learning strategies to my current place of employment”.

Sophie Duke – year 14 2022-23

“I enjoy Psychology as it explores the fascinating human mind and expands our awareness of why we behave how we do.  It also fits in well with my other subjects and for my future career in working with people”.

Isaac Baird – year 14 2022-23

“I enjoy Psychology as it is a really interesting subject about the mind and how our thoughts and upbringing can impact our behaviour.  I have applied to do teaching and Psychology is a great subject to have, as it will allow me to understand children’s behaviour and when working with parents/carers”.