Curriculum and qualifications



The national curriculum for England is statutory in all maintained schools (not free schools or academies). The curriculum support Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 (primary and secondary education, 5-14 years) (some subjects have details for Key Stage 4, 14-16 years).

Food is mainly taught through:

  • Design and technology: Cooking and nutrition;
  • Science;
  • Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE).

Physical education also plays an important part in pupils’ health and wellbeing.

For further information on the curriculum in England, go to:

Northern Ireland

In primary schools (5-11 years), food is taught mainly through health education. It supports Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in The World Around Us (Science and Technology, Geography) and Personal Development and Mutual Understanding.

During secondary school education (11-14 years), food is taught through three main areas:

  • Learning for life at work (Home Economics);
  • Science and technology (Science);
  • Learning for life and work (Personal Development).

For further information on the curriculum in Northern Ireland, go to:


Curriculum for Excellence has two stages: the broad general education (from the early years to the end of S3) and the senior phase (S4 to S6). The broad general education has five levels (early, first, second, third and fourth). The senior phase is designed to build on the experiences and outcomes of the broad general education, and to allow young people to take qualifications and courses that suit their abilities and interests.

From early years to secondary schools (3-16 years), food is taught progressively through:

  • Sciences;
  • Technologies;
  • Health and wellbeing.

For further information on the curriculum in Scotland, go to:


The curriculum in Wales ensures that children in early years, primary school and secondary school have experiences learning about food. The curriculum comprises Early years, with progression onto National Curriculum (Key Stages 2 and 3, 8-14 years). The curriculum is under review.

The three areas of the National Curriculum where food is mainly featured are:

  • Design and Technology: food;
  • Science;
  • Personal and social education.

For further information on the curriculum in Wales, go to:



There are as number of food related qualifications that young people can take between the ages of 14 – 18 years. The type and content of qualification varies, depending on your location within the UK. Qualifications include food preparation and nutrition, biology, science, physical education and, hospitality and catering. Different Awarding Organisations provide qualifications.


The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England. Qualifications are provided by a number of Awarding Organisations (exam boards), who are regulated by Ofqual.

Some of the Awarding Organisations that offer ‘food’ qualifications include:

Ofqual provides a search function to find qualifications at

Northern Ireland

The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) brings together the three areas of curriculum, examinations and assessment in Northern Ireland. It advises government on what should be taught in schools, monitors standards and awards qualifications.

Key ‘food’ qualifications include: Agriculture and land use, Biology, Food and nutrition, Home economics, Food science and nutrition, and Hospitality.

To find out more, go to:


The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) accredits and awards qualifications.

Key ‘food’ qualifications include: Health and food technology, Hospitality, Science, and Food, Health and Wellbeing.

To find out more, go to:


WJEC is an examination board, providing qualifications and exam assessment to schools. With over 65 years’ experience in delivering qualifications, WJEC is the largest provider in Wales

Key ‘food’ qualifications include: Food preparation and nutrition, Hospitality and catering, Food science and nutrition, and Science. 

To find out more, go to:

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