A new GCSE in cooking and nutrition is to be taught from September 2016 as part of a drive to ensure all schools benefit from demanding, high-quality courses.
Pupils studying the qualification will gain a proper understanding of the scientific principles behind food and nutrition, as well as using practical cooking techniques to enable them to prepare and cook food.
A consultation has been published on draft content for the new GCSE, which is aimed at providing youngsters with knowledge of nutrition, food choice and food origins, in addition to a number of practical cooking techniques to prepare and cook food.
Developed with input from experts including the authors of the School Food Plan, the qualification builds on the best of the three main current food-related GCSEs, while including new content on the scientific knowledge underlying cooking and food preparation.
It will prepare them for further study, such as a high-quality food-related tech level, or apprenticeships in the catering or food industries.
Exam boards have also worked with subject experts to draft the content of the revised GCSE, putting cutting-edge content and product design at the heart of the proposals.
It was decided that a greater emphasis was needed on skills that are required by employers, such as food science and nutrition, and skilled practical cooking. This has led to the development of a distinct GCSE in cooking and nutrition.
Minister for school reform Nick Gibb said: "This qualification will give young people the preparation they need to succeed in the food and hospitality industries as well as giving them vital life skills."
Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon and the School Food Plan, described the new course as "a serious qualification that will be another step towards creating a healthier and happier society".
This emphasis on better standards forms part of a new action plan the government is implementing to improve the food being served in schools and the broader culture around it.