How do I become a Food Tech Teacher?

School children and teacher cookingRecently one of our course seekers left us a question – How do I become a Food Tech Teacher? In fact, the question was posted by a lady wanting to help her husband out.

We realised that sometimes these questions require a proper and detailed answer. So we decided to write a blog post about it just in case other people are having the same problem.

We’ve done a fair amount of research for this question gathering information from different sources – such as from the Get Into Teaching website, which offers some very valuable advice on how to become a teacher and what route you need to follow, depending on your work experience and career stage. And from the Design and Technology Association that gives advice about the curriculum and ways to engage pupils.

The Original Question

What do you want to learn? Springest

For the sake of this blog post we are going to assume that this woman’s husband has a degree. A good thing is that this man has extensive knowledge about food technology, and nutrition through his catering experience.

What this person lacks at the moment is knowledge and experience in teaching. Most teaching vacancies require some teaching qualification and past experience.

How to get into teaching?

School children and teacher cookingTo teach you need Initial Teacher Education or Training (ITET) based at a university, school or college in the UK. There are many different levels of qualification that you can attain.

We will explain the differences below, keep in mind what’s best for you.

The Basics (undergrad)

Most teachers in the UK require a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or the Teaching Qualification (TQ). In England there are certain instances where you do not need a QTS to teach, such as, independent schools, academies and free schools, but it’s obviously an advantage.

To teach in a maintained school in Wales you will need the QTS and in Scotland the TQ.

The PGCE (postgraduate)

If you want to develop your teaching skills and have an undergraduate degree you can study a PGCE (Professional Graduate Certificate in Education). This qualification includes a QTS as well as the PGCE.

Most PGCEs involve 1 year’s full-time study, or a part-time 2 years study.

Other Routes:

Teach First (school based)

This 2 year programme is designed for high quality graduates that have the potential to become inspiration leaders in the UK’s low income communities. After a 6 weeks intensive teacher training course, you’ll be placed in a school for two years earning credits towards your PGCE.

Troops to Teachers

Gives former service personnel who are in the r
esettlement cycle the opportunity to train as teachers.

Contact Independent Schools

Independent school, academies and free schools do not need a QTS, so you could look at their vacancy page and reach out to them. Maybe your experience and enthusiasm outsets your lack in teacher training.

The Curriculum

There are two ways teachers can teach Food Technology – either as a separate subject or as part of Design and Technology (D&T).

Since 1992, Food Technology also known as Cooking and Nutrition is part of the D&T programme in the National Curriculum. This is so that students can

“cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating.” Department of Education, 2013

In 2006 Ofsted ran a report the effectiveness of food technology in schools and they found that, it was given limited time due to the competition other focus areas of D&T, such as, new technologies and textiles.

Mary Berry cookingBut times are a’changing. The first mass media coverage of healthy eating in British Schools was started in 2005 by Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners TV show. Since then politicians, education ministers, chefs, athletes, etc. have joined the bandwagon to such an extent that from September 2014 cooking lessons will be compulsory on the school curriculum for the first time. For example, Mary Berry is a firm advocate of cooking lessons as “essential” for school pupils

Most schools hire teachers that can cover all aspects of the D&T curriculum i.e. someone that can teach textiles, crafting, cooking, etc. However, there are quite a large number of schools and colleges that do make a distinction and hire teachers that are specialised in the different parts of D&T.

In addition, there are certain schools and colleges that teach Food Technology as a separate subject, which is recognised at GCSE and A-levels. Food Technology goes an extra step from the D&T curriculum by teaching students the basics of cooking and food technology, such as: food processing, quality control, food testing, and analysis.

Back to the Original Question

So to wrap things up lets go back to the original question.

Mary Berry Cooking

As the person in question is already experienced in Food Technology, Cooking and Nutrition, he has 3 options:

  1. Take a Teacher Training course or PGCE that awards either a QTS or TQ qualification,
  2. Follow the Teach First Program,
  3. Contact your local independent schools and find a suitable vacancy.

We hope this blog post has helped a little bit, or anyone else for that matter.