It's all under control
In the amended design and technology Order, the programmes of study define the areas "Systems and Control" and "Health and Safety". At first glance, systems and control' may seem to be concerned with electronics and mechanics.
However, the food industry uses systems to manufacture products everyday, and needs control to ensure that consistent products are being produced.
Health and safety requires students to be able to identify hazards, assess risks and take action to control them. A clear example from industry that illustrates both areas is HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points). It's all possible using food.
Food systems and Control is a 52-page photocopiable A4 booklet designed to help teach both these areas. It is composed of worksheets explaining various elements of control, systems and hazard analysis.
Every page has a task for students to tackle: comprehension questions, boxes to complete and one disassembly task. The booklet is intended for key stage 4 and GNVQ students, yet the level varies. Some pages seem aimed at lower-ability students, while others would be suitable for more advanced work.
To be used effectively the sheets should not be simply copied, distributed and completed by students. Discussion, explanation and focused practical tasks are all needed in order to bring this exciting dimension of food work to life and to ensure that students grasp the concepts.
This publication contains simple sheets of basic information and would give a boost to the teacher of food technology who lacks confidence. It provides a starting point for coming to terms with the inter-relationship of systems, control, health and safety as used by the food industry.
Roy Ballam is education liaison officer for the British Nutrition Foundation