Hot cuisine and the curriculum

2nd May 1997 at 01:00
Home economics has had a difficult time since the introduction of the national curriculum in 1990. However many cake tins and cookers a school might own, there was no obvious place for the subject which, almost by default, found itself as part of designtechnology.

Technology, of course, has not been without difficulties of its own. The general "problem-solving" approach of the initial curriculum provoked widespread complaint and several official revisions. For a number of years technology was effectively in abeyance.

From this school year, everyone has been taking technology again, by law. The design and technology programmes of study at key stages 1 and 2 say that pupils should be given the opportunities to work with a range of materials and components, including items that can be assembled to make products, for example reclaimed materials, textiles, food and construction kits.

But, to the great annoyance of home economics teachers, their subject is no longer compulsory at secondary school. Nor is it cookery. Rather the emphasis is on "food technology" and the processing of food - a merely optional part of the new technology curriculum.

Not that home economics teachers should despair. There is still clearly a market for their subject. Last year, in the absence of an official technology curriculum at key stage 4, the GCSE in home economics saw a remarkable revival in popularity. Moreover the freeing up of the secondary school curriculum could, in theory at least, allow for some of that revival to continue.

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