We offer an ambitious Design Technology curriculum, which is shaped to reflect the unique needs of our pupils and develop their confidence to express themselves through a wide range of media and methods, including textiles, construction, design, electronics, food and materials. Children are encouraged to see the opportunities that a career in design can bring.
DT is closely linked across the curriculum, so that pupils can link their design experiences to their cultural understanding and a broader understanding of the world. DT topics are planned to coincide with topics covered in Geography, History, RE, PSHE and Science to maximise curriculum links. Each year group completes an in-depth study of a designer and as they move through the school, children are able to articulate about designers and why they work the way they do. We use the Kapow scheme of work to give our lessons a base. We tailor each lesson to meet the needs of our children.
Children are given opportunities to explore the details of construction, design, products and materials in the world around them and give them the skills to reproduce those details in their designs and products. At the same time, children develop and build their hand/eye co-ordination and fine motor skills, gradually building, year on year, to allow children to use tools and manipulate materials with intent. Examples include: control of tools such as hot glue guns, saws and drills as well as cooking equipment to create a range of products.
Children learn how designer endeavours have developed over the course of human history and understand that creativity is an important tool for self-expression. They are taught to understand why people make products, how designer’s personal experiences shape the items that they create and how manipulation of tools (such as wood) and techniques (such as measuring) can emphasise emotions and feelings within a finished product. Children learn about a range of designs from other cultures and develop an understanding of their uses and functions within those cultures.
Children explore the work of local designers and engage in making products to express their emotions. There are a wide range of designers and cultures studied (including BAME designers) to balance the intake and provide a range of cultural viewpoints. Several Design projects across the Key Stages use recycled materials, therefore helping our children to consider the environmental implications of their work. There is a high level of vocabulary used in teaching and interactions; every topic also includes a wide range of opportunities for in-depth writing, including creative writing.
Children design and make items with a specific purpose and consider their intended future use in order to create an item fit for purpose. We teach increasingly sophisticated methods of construction and focus on how these have been developed and are used in the world around us. Evaluation is an integral part of the learning process. Children learn to evaluate their work, build on what they have learnt, make mistakes, change their minds and understand that this is a valuable part of the design process.
It enables them to want to learn and enjoy creating work that allows them to reach a high standard in all areas of the curriculum, with enough time given for researching, discussing, exploring and refining. Having the confidence to take risks is valued and ‘having a go’ encouraged in all areas of the Design curriculum.
Knowledge and skills are sequenced to build on prior learning and the subject is taught through a half-termly topic focus. Long term planning contains an equal distribution of Design Technology topics - three topics for each per academic year. DT is usually timetabled with weekly lessons, although some teachers prefer to teach certain sections of their topics as a block, to aid access to materials and media, for example in food technology lessons.
Planning and evaluating is a key focus for every year group and both demonstrate that children are able to create products with specific intent. Prior learning is revisited at the start of every topic.
As well as this, children are progressively challenged to consider their own work, questioning their own methods and how their work and ideas could be improved. Support is given by providing demonstrations of techniques and skills and one-to-one help when needed, whilst also allowing children adequate time to complete their work to a good standard.
If topics need to be moved to fit in with, for example, trips and other enrichment opportunities, teachers can use the long-term plan to decide how they can rearrange, but still retain good links across the curriculum. Medium-term plans map out the individual topics and give more detail and ideas for in-depth writing and enrichment opportunities as well as thorough links across the wider curriculum.
Children are frequently given opportunities to ‘have a go’ at applying their learning in new contexts and encouraged to recognise mistakes as a useful, positive part of the learning process. Our whole school culture promotes self-challenge, resilience, courage, questioning and deep thinking.
It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time, as well as their readiness for the next stage in education and for life as an adult in the wider world. We wish for our children to leave school with the knowledge that DT is simply another language that we can use to articulate ideas and that everyone is capable of creating interesting and exciting pieces of design work, no matter what their skill level.
Marking and feedback provides ongoing assessment information which is used to shape future teaching. Children are assessed formally at the end of each term and phase in their understanding of the key knowledge and skills covered and use of vocabulary.