Because "we all come together to learn", there is a strong universal element to our curriculum: we give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
Food is an essential part of life. The study of Food is thus an essential part of any education. In our context, the study of Food not only offers unparalleled opportunities to engage those less enthused by more academic subjects, but can also make a singular contribution to the school's pastoral curriculum. We will do this by creating a uniquely nurturing environment, a small-scale "Christian community" (as the whole-school Mission Statement expresses it), that supports metal, physical and emotional health – not least because of the immediate feelings of satisfaction and achievement that pupils can receive within a lesson from practical (and edible) work. That is our vision for Food at St Margaret's.
It is our intention that pupils will take pride and ownership of their practical work. By exploring a range of foods they will increase their tastes, will learn about different cultures and will develop skills which will enable them to live healthily and become independent, functional citizens. They will thus become confident, informed consumers with a passion for selecting, preparing and making good food for themselves and others.
We also recognise the increasing number of opportunities for careers in Hospitality and Catering locally (it is a growth area of our regional economy). Our curriculum is planned to allow all learners can access such opportunities (eg through a new Key Stage 5 course in 2019/2020).
Pre-14, we teach nutrition, food commodities and cooking skills, focussing on mastering practical techniques safely in order to progress. In line with our intent to open possible career paths, post-14 we look more at the Hospitality and Catering sector, again with a practical focus.
We use hinge questions to identify gaps in learning, topic tests to strengthen recall, and flash cards and knowledge organisers to boost retention.
As a one-teacher Department, strong links with other schools (eg through regular meetings) enable quality resources to be shared.
The unique nature of our subject inspires a distinctive, ambitious and inspiring pedagogy. Tasting sessions, practical lessons, visits and demonstrations ensure learners gain practical, industry-standard skills and knowledge (again, preparing students for possible future careers).
Our teaching enables students to make cross-curricular links – especially with Science, but we also enhance their literacy and numeracy skills.
Trips and visits (eg to the Good Food show) are a key way of teaching students about the wider world of food, and its social and moral aspects.
Assessment and tracking show how well pupils retain knowledge. Pre-14, pupils must master a skill to move on, and non-progression is rare? Pupil voice and recruitment show we are creating a "nurturing environment" (see 'Intent'). Students often show other staff their practical work.