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Home Economics

Subject Overview

Home Economics is a hot topic in today’s society. Watch any news programme or pick up any newspaper or magazine, Home Economics is in the headlines. We are in the grip of an Obesity epidemic, diet related disorders such as Diabetes have become increasingly common among young people.


Our busy lifestyle means many families now rely on ready-made meals. At the same time food and cooking is fashionable again.


Our TVs are monopolized by celebrity chefs and cookery programmes. In Home Economics, we examine all of the important issues. We separate the facts from the myths, so that our girls can make informed decisions and good choices in life. Home Economics is a very relevant, necessary subject. We at St Mary’s nurture a love of practical cookery skills reflecting modern trends, whilst still maintaining our love of traditional foods and cooking skills. Pupils are provided with lots of opportunities to develop a range of practical skills in class and also in our ever popular afterschool club. Our hope is to foster an interest, enjoyment and love of Home Economics.

Key Stage 3

Head of Department

Miss C Digney

Home Economics.jpg

Home Economics is a highly relevant and vibrant subject for all pupils in today’s health orientated society. The title of this subject can sometimes be misleading. Home Economics consists of 3 main concepts:

  1. Healthy Eating – Exploring Healthy Eating provides opportunities to develop practical skills by preparing, cooking and serving a range of meals. In this unit pupils also explore ways to achieve a healthy diet.

  2. Home and Family Life – Exploring home and family life provides opportunities to understand the importance of the family as a caring unit. Pupils develop an awareness of parenting skills and explore strategies to manage family scenarios.

  3. Skills for Independent Living – Exploring Independent Living provides opportunities to develop a range of skills to promote independence. Pupils also investigate a range of factors that influence consumer choices and decisions, and examine consumer rights.

Home Economics is a compulsory subject. It is offered at Key Stage 3 to all pupils in Years 8, 9 and 10. Classes are for 2 periods each week, 90 minutes per week.

It has also proved to be a popular choice at Key Stage 4 where a number of students choose Home Economics for further study at GCSE Level following NICCEA Syllabus.

The Home Economics Department has two bright, modern and well-resourced rooms.


Key Stage 3 Extra Curricular Activities /Trips/Industry links


Our Department takes Year 9 pupils to the Balmoral Show annually. This provides pupils with the opportunity to experience Northern Ireland's largest agri-food event. It typically includes show jumping competitions, shopping, food tasting, a children's farm, and displays of falconry, pedigree horses, ponies, cattle, sheep, poultry, pigs and goats.


Key Stage 4


Why Study the Subject


Nutrition and food is essential to everyone as we all need to eat. Northern Ireland's economy benefits greatly from the food our agri-food industry produces.

The choices we make about food affect our health and well-being, so knowledge of nutrition and food science is important. We also need to know how advertising and food labelling can influence the choices we make about what we consume.

To make the correct choices, we need to know about the principles of nutrition and how dietary requirements change throughout our lives.

Nutrition and Food Science is a very relevant subject to study as we have become increasingly concerned about: food security; ethical farming; sustainability; climate change just to name a few.

Assessment structure

Our GCSE in Home Economics: Food and Nutrition is a linear qualification: students take all the assessment at the end of the course.

One written exam 50%

One controlled assessment task  50%

Year 11 and 12


GCSE Home Economics: Food and Nutrition specification encourages students to develop knowledge and understanding of the science behind food. Topics include food provenance, food processing and production, macronutrients and micronutrients, government nutritional guidelines, and food safety. Students develop practical skills in food preparation, cooking and presentation.


They also gain knowledge, understanding and skills in areas such as:

  • Health issues associated with dietary and lifestyle choices

  • The factors affecting how we buy food, what we buy and what we waste

  • Planning meals for people with specific nutritional and dietary needs.

Employability/job opportunities/further study


This course also provides an excellent foundation for a career in food-related industries such as Dietetics, Environmental Health, Nursing, Social Care, Teaching and many more.


St Mary's High School, Newry

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