In this section

Home Economics

Good nutrition plays a vital role in promoting and protecting health. It helps prevent heart disease and some cancers as well as other health problems common in Northern Ireland, such as obesity and oral disease. However, social, economic and technological changes have changed the way we obtain and choose food. The current trend for convenient, fast, effortless eating has already started to take a negative toll on the health of the nation.

Why Is Home Economics so important?

In Home Economics, pupils learn about diet and health in a practical context – through the preparation of food and the planning of meals. It also encourages pupils to think about their relationship with food in a positive way, to challenge the way they choose food, and to inspire a love for food and a willingness to experiment and be creative with food.

Society’s make-up is also changing, and today many different family structures exist. Young people need the opportunity to learn how to cope as future parents and be made aware of their roles and responsibilities within these changing family patterns. Home Economics helps to meet these needs by allowing pupils to explore and debate topics around the key concepts of home and family life and independent living. As a result, pupils become more able to make informed and responsible choices about their health, their family relationships and their resources now and in the future.

Home Economics combines aspects of science, nutrition, cooking, parenting skills and finance. All pupils take Home Economics at Key Stage 3 and may select to continue this at GCSE, AS and A2, following the specifications for CCEA


Home Economics Staff

  • Mrs A Cooper B.Sc.; M.Sc.; P.G.C.E (Curriculum Leader)
  • Mrs S. J. Kennedy B.A., Dip. Nutrition and Health RSPH
  • Mrs. S. Patterson B.A; Dip. Nutrition and Health RSPH
  • Mrs A Cusick BTEC National and BTECH HND in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management.

Key Stage 3 Programme of Study

This Programme gives pupils the opportunity to study three key concepts which include Healthy Eating, Family Life and Independent Living. A variety of teaching approaches are used including discussion, role-play, practical cooking, internet research and thinking activities.

Years 11 and 12 GCSE

GCSE Home Economics

This involves the study of two discrete aspects including the opportunity to explore diet and health; and consumer awareness. Pupils consider the differing needs of family members and also how food choice is affected by social, economic, environmental, cultural, physiological and psychological factors. An important element of this course involves practical cooking which is a compulsory part of the controlled assessment.

GCSE Food and Nutrition (replacing GCSE Home Economics September 2017)

GCSE Food and Nutrition involves pupils in the study of nutrition, food choice and diet and health within the context of the home and family. It encourages knowledge and understanding of current nutritional advice, the nutritional needs of family members through the life cycle and of diet related conditions. Pupils are given the opportunity to explore issues, to develop practical cooking skills and to learn how to manage resources effectively.


External assessment

Unit 1: Food and Nutrition 

  • This examination carries 50% of the total marks for this subject
  • Allocation of time – 2 hours
  • Includes a combination of multiple-choice, short and structured questions and questions requiring extended writing.  

Internal Assessment

Unit 2: Practical Food and Nutrition

  • One controlled assessment task where pupils research and analyse viewpoints, justify chosen dishes, plan, prepare and evaluate the final outcome.
  • This controlled assessment carries 50% of the total marks for this subject

GCSE Child Development

Child Development involves pupils in the study of the physical, social, intellectual and emotional development of young children from conception to the age of five years. It encourages knowledge and understanding of pregnancy, the needs of young children, the roles and responsibilities of parents, and the social and environmental influences affecting family life.

ASSESSMENT (new specification)

External assessment

Unit 1: Parenthood, Pregnacy and the Newborn baby – 1hour 15mins written examination – 30%.

Unit 2: The Development of the Child (0-5yrs) – 1 hour 15mins written examination – 30%

(both papers include a combination of multiple-choice, short and long structured questions and questions requiring extended writing).  

Internal Assessment:

Unit 3: Controlled Assessment Investigation Task – 40%

This involves analysing the set task, carrying out research by secondary and primary means, analysing viewpoints, planning the outcome, drawing conclusions and evaluating the completed task.

Years 13 and 14 AS/A2 

GCE Nutrition and Food Science

Each day, food choices affect health − how people feel today, tomorrow and in the future. Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle and can help to reduce the risk of chronic illness and promote overall health.

Nutrition is a fast-moving discipline that focuses on understanding the role of diet in maintaining a healthy human body and preventing disease.

Nutrition and Food Science prepares students for third level education, with past pupils choosing careers in teaching, nursing, agri-food sector, pharmacy, dentistry and allied health professions such as occupational therapy and accountancy.


At AS Level:

AS 1 Principles of Nutrition–– one examination paper of 1 hour 30 minutes which carries 50% of AS and 20% of Advanced level

AS 2 – Diet, Lifestyle and Health– one examination paper of 1 hour 30 minutes which carries 50% of AS and 20% of Advanced level

At A2 Level :

A2 1 – Option 1: Food Security and Sustainability or Option 2: Food Safety and Quality– one 2 hours 30 minutes examination paper which carries 30% of Advanced level

A2 2 – Research based assignment (4000 words) which carries 30% of Advanced level based on a topic of the pupil’s own choice.