During the first three years, all students will experience a short course in Food Technology. All the ingredients, plus an apron, are provided, but we do ask that girls bring a container to carry their food home in.
In the first form, students are given an area to share with one or two friends and begin by learning the basics. However by the end of the course they will make lemon curd souffles. They develop confidence quickly and learn that this subject is not just about cooking. They explore how ingredients function when making Focaccia bread and study the melting times of various chocolates in the microwaves when learning how microwaves work.
Second formers study nutrition with a particular focus on the importance of starchy carbohydrates in the diet. Students make a variety of delicious dishes, including Creamy Carbonara, Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto and Oat and Cherry biscuits. The course explores why we need carbohydrates and where we can find them in our food. Students also learn about the importance of including high fibre starchy carbohydrates in their diet and discuss how they can make sensible choices at lunchtime.
In the third form students develop their presentation skills and work with a pastry as a commodity. They experience working with rich, lemon shortcrust pastry, puff pastry, filo pastry and choux pastry to make some beautifully presented products. Time is also spent developing piping and icing skills and making cakes.
All students in the lower school take part in the Prior's Field Masterchef competition. The heats take place in the lesson and the best cook is chosen to represent their class in the final at the end of the year, which is judged by the Head and local food specialists. We look forward to finding out who our best cooks are each year!
For those first form students who love to cook we have Funky Food clubs after school twice a week as an optional extra, for fun and developing skills a little further.
This course is designed so that 60% is based on coursework, carried out in the classroom and extended through homework. Practical work is an essential element of the coursework. 40% of the marks are then achieved in the exam, reducing the pressure at a time when students are working extremely hard. Coursework is carried out in the form of three short tasks and one longer, independent study. Students are given the option of choosing which area they would like to study for the latter, which they always find very interesting.
During the GCSE, students will have the opportunity to visit the Good Food Show at the NEC. Pupils have been fortunate enough to see Jamie Oliver giving a cookery demonstration, have recipes books signed by Gary Rhodes and James Martin and experience cooking in the restaurant kitchen of a first class country hotel.
In addition to the A Level Food and Nutrition course, sixth formers are also offered Tante Marie, the specialist cookery school based in Woking. Girls who choose to take up this exciting after school activity enjoy cooking at this advanced level and receive a certificate that has helped previous students to gain gap year placements in ski resorts or working as kitchen crew on yachts in the Mediterranean.
There are opportunities for every student to enjoy cooking throughout their time at Prior's Field.