Wellington College

Wellington College Belfast

Co-Educational Grammar School

Engage | Educate | Empower

Home Economics

Home Economics
Mrs. Anderson (HoD) with top achieving GCSE pupils Rachael Darragh, Kelly Millar, and Lauren Telford

Key Staff

  • Mrs L Anderson (HoD)
  • Mrs K Latimer
  • Mrs H Carson
  • Mrs H Rose
  • Miss S Dunwoody(Technician)

Home Economics is a subject through which many skills are developed, particularly the practical skills involved in preparing and cooking food. Emphasis is placed on healthy food choices, diet and health, exploring home and family life and the acquisition of personal skills to become discerning and effective consumers.

Facilities and Resources

The Home Economics department is a modern forward thinking and vibrant department that strives relentlessly to ensure pupils achieve success in external examinations and are equipped with the skills to meet the demands of contemporary living. Pupils benefit from working in a suit of purpose built rooms which include two food preparation rooms and a well resourced room for group work and independent study.

Practical lessons are designed to inspire pupils to enjoy cooking, experiment with a range of ingredients to widen their food experiences and develop their creativity in food preparation.


The department encourages pupils to enter competitions and has in recent years enjoyed success when a Year 10 pupil won the regional heat of the Future Chef competition and gained a place in the national final.  This October Year 10 pupils will participate in the school heat of this competition which requires them to demonstrate their flair, creativity and culinary skill in food preparation when cooking a main course dish within budget and time constraints.  Year 11 pupils will also be challenged with entry in The Dairy Council Cook of the Year competition which will be held early next year.

Home Economics at Key Stage 3 develops the pupil’s ability to make good food choices and develops a range of skills in food preparation and cooking to encourage a positive and healthy relationship with food and eating.

Home Economics develops thinking skills and personal capabilities that enable students to lead effective lives as individuals and family members as well as members of the wider community. 

Home Economics helps pupils explore their health in a practical context, enhancing their potential to live a healthy lifestyle and make responsible choices about their diet and food.

Home Economics gives pupils a sense of themselves as social beings and how they relate to one another; making them aware of the values and lifestyles that are different to their own and helping them make reasoned judgements in family relationships.

Home Economics increases pupil awareness of their role as consumers in a changing economy to help them become discerning and effective when making judgements in relation to the environment and personal finances.

GCSE Home Economics (Awarding body CCEA)

GCSE Home Economics builds on the skills including the practical cookery skills already developed in Key Stage 3. Pupils complete three units over the two year course.


Pupils study the following topics and then complete a 1 ½ hour written examination at the end of Year 12.

Diet and Health Topics

What’s in Food; Ages and Stages; What’s on the Plate; What’s on the Label; Dietary Disorders; Special Diets; The Facts behind the Issues; Keeping Food Safe.

Consumer Awareness Topics

Money Matters; Wiser Buyer; Being an Effective Consumer; What Influences Shopping?


Pupils complete a practical cookery task. The task for 2013 is:

The ‘8 Tips for Eating Well’ are guidelines to encourage healthy food choices.

  • Plan a range of dishes that reflect the advice given in the ‘8 Tips for Eating Well’.  Planning to include justification of choice, ingredient lists, equipment lists, shopping list and time plan.
  • Prepare and make the range of dishes chosen.
  • Evaluate all aspects of the task.


Pupils research a consumer issue and write it up in a 3,000 word report. The issue for 2013 is as follows:

Investigate the use of the internet as a method of shopping for families.

  • Identify the issues related to the title and choose one for further research.
  • Research the chosen issue using secondary sources.
  • Plan and carry out a primary investigation related to the title.
  • Draw conclusions and evaluate all aspects of the task.

GCE Home Economics  (awarding body CCEA)

To complete the A level course, pupils study 4 modules – two in Year 13 (AS) and two in Year 14 (A2)


AS 1 Principles of Nutrition (50% of AS award; 20% of A2 award)

Pupils study the macro and micro nutrients and other dietary constituents. Nutritional requirements and current dietary recommendations across the lifespan are also studied.

Pupils will study the topics above and then complete a 1 hour and 30 minute written examination at the end of year 13.

AS2 Diet, Lifestyle and Health (50% of AS award; 20% of A2 award)

Pupils will study eating patterns, physical activity, energy and energy balance and diet related disorders including overweight and obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Pupils will study the above topics and then complete a 1 hour and 30 minute written examination at the end of year 13.


A2 Option 1: Food Security and Sustainability (30% of A2 award)

Pupils will study consumer behavior in relation to food purchasing decisions including food security, food poverty, food sustainability, food waste and changing consumer behavior.

A2 Option 2: Food Safety and Quality (30% of A2 award)

Pupils will study the need for securing a safe food supply from the primary producer to the consumer including safety through the food chain, microbiological and chemical contamination, additives, allergens, controls and legislation.

Only 1 of the A2 options will be offered.

A2 Research Project (30% of A2 award)

Pupils are required to submit a report on a research based activity which should not exceed 4,000 words. The research area chosen should come from AS1, AS2 or A21.

The Home Economics department has achieved excellent GCSE and GCE A’ level results in recent years.


The 2012 GCSE Home Economics results were outstanding and the best on record. A significant number of pupils (70%) attained a grade A* or A which placed Wellington College’s results in Home Economics significantly above the Northern Ireland grammar school average. The department’s results were also higher than the grammar school average at both Grade B and C and all the students attained a pass at grade C or above.

Three pupils achieved maximum marks in all three GCSE units.


The 2012 AS Home Economics results were also outstanding. The number of pupils in WCB obtaining a Grade A (63%) almost doubled the NI grammar school average of 33.9%. All pupils attained either a Grade A or B (100%) which is significantly higher than the NI grammar school cumulative percentage of 63.8%.

The performance of WCB pupils in the AS Module 2 examination was outstanding: all pupils achieved a Grade A and 3 pupils attained maximum marks on the paper.

One pupil attained maximum marks in both AS modules.


The 2012 A’ level results were also excellent. Wellington College pupils exceeded the NI grammar school average at Grades A*-C and the number of pupils attaining a Grade A (57%) was significantly higher than the average grammar school figure of 34% at this grade.


Congratulations to the following pupils on obtaining the highest marks in the College in the 2012 examination series:

  • GCSE Home Economics: Rachel Darragh, Kelly Millar and Lauren Telford
  • GCE AS Home Economics: Caroline Carson
  • GCE A’ level Home Economics: Deborah Murray

The department also likes to include opportunities for out of school visits and collaboration with further and higher education establishments. Last year Year 11 and Year 13 pupils enjoyed cookery courses at the Belfast Cookery School to learn how to prepare a range of fish dishes.

A couple of Year 10 and Year 12 pupils attended the Junior Chef Academy programme at Belfast Metropolitan College which involved a 10 week course in food production held on Saturday mornings.

The University of Ulster’s department of Hospitality and Tourism Management are invited every year to speak to sixth form pupils studying GCE AS Home Economics about the undergraduate courses which follow on from a study of A level Home Economics.

Annually pupils are invited to attend one day courses at CAFRE Loughry College Campus in Cookstown to learn about the further and higher education courses offered by this College.

Outside Speakers

Regular speakers to the Home Economics department include representatives from the Belfast City Council Environmental Health department and the Trading Standards Service who are able to give pupils an insight into the work of these professionals who work in food and consumer safety.

Cookery Demonstrations

Cookery demonstrations are also regularly incorporated into the Home Economics teaching programmes; in the past these have included demonstrations of specific culinary skills by local chefs or food demonstrations to illustrate specific topic areas in the GCSE specification. This year the Livestock and Meat Commission will demonstrate a range of dishes which meet the nutritional needs of adolescents to support the delivery of the CCEA GCSE specification to the Year 11 pupils.

WCB hosts Cake Making Master Class

In March the College hosted a master class on cake making for Home Economics teachers delivered by local celebrity cook and cookery writer Jenny Bristow. The CPD event offered teachers in the local area an opportunity to update their skills and receive top tips from master baker Jenny Bristow.

Teachers watched informative demonstrations of how to make Victorian lemon cake with elderflower and lemon curd, gingerbread parkin, a feather light peach gateau with peach filling and scrumptious savoury breakfast muffins. The teachers then took their turn at trying out these recipes with a view to including them in their teaching programmes in their own schools. The event was also supported by grainchain.com and the British Nutrition Foundation who contributed to the day with speakers who presented papers on consumer eating habits and a nutrition and health update. The event was very enjoyable and provided the department teaching staff with some inspiring recipes for pupils to try in the future.

Belfast Cookery School

Year 11 and Year 13 Home Economics pupils enjoyed visits to the Belfast Cookery School to learn how to prepare a range of fish dishes. The pupils watched demonstrations by Wayne Carville Principal of the Belfast Cookery School and Head Chef of the Mourne Seafood Bar Dundrum. The pupils, under the watchful eye of Wayne and his team prepared fish cakes as a starter course, a sea bass main course and pots of mussels in a variety of sauces. The pupils were also given an opportunity to try their hand at shucking oysters, cooking and tasting fresh mussels and a chance to sample ‘John Dory’. It was a really enjoyable experience with many of the pupils getting an opportunity to be adventurous and taste some shellfish for the first time, with several pupils now converted to the tasty virtues of fish.


The study of Home Economics has allowed many of our former pupils to go on to careers in the field of education as well as to careers in the food industry, hospitality industry and the caring professions.

In Home Economics we make reference to careers opportunities by various means:

  • Schemes of work – reference a career path if studying a particular topic
  • Careers noticeboard highlighting possible careers and former pupil successes
  • Careers Power Points delivered at the end of KS3 and KS4 highlighting what pupils can expect from GCSE or A level Home Economics
  • Visiting speakers eg. Trading Standards Service
  • Talks from former pupils on their career pathway

Home Economics covers a diverse range of career paths. Career opportunities can be found with:

  • Food Scientist/Technologist
  • Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Food Service Industry
  • Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation
  • Hotel and Restaurant management
  • Financial Management
  • Product Development
  • Food stylists/ Food Photography
  • Home Economists in Journalism or media
  • Research and Development
  • Human Resource Management
  • Money/debt management
  • CAB/Consumer Advice
  • NI Consumer Council
  • Government health departments
  • Health promotion and nutrition agencies
  • Family and social work organisations
  • Education - teacher of Home Economics
  • Child Development and Education
  • Family and Human Services

Useful Websites