Design & Technology
“Good buildings come from good people, and all problems are solved by good design.” – Stephen Gardiner
Why is Design and Technology important?
“Design and Technology is about providing opportunities for children to develop their capability. By combining their design and making skills with knowledge and understanding they learn to create quality products”
“D&T is often one of a child’s favourite subjects. Children like making decisions for themselves and doing practical work. They love creating products they can see, touch – and even taste – for themselves. They feel proud to have done so.”
“D&T brings learning to life. It is a motivating context for discovering literacy, mathematics, science, art, PSHE and ICT.”
The Design and Technology Association
The National Curriculum for design and technology aims to ensure that all pupils:
• develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world
• build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users
• critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others
• understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook
The Design and Technology curriculum at St Dennis Primary Academy aims to provide all children with a broad and balanced curriculum which prepares them for life beyond primary education. They are encouraged to use their creativity and imagination, to design and make products. Examples include: learning how to strengthen a structure to make it more stable, learning how to use mechanisms or electrical systems in their designs and how to use computer programming to control a product. Design and Technology encourages our children to learn to think and intervene creatively to solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values both as individuals and collaboratively.
As well as following the National Curriculum breadth of study for design and technology, we use the Chris Quigley structure which encompasses three threshold concepts to implement a coherently planned design and technology curriculum underpinned by our drivers. These threshold concepts are:
- Mastering practical skills
- Design, make, evaluate and improve
- Take inspiration from design throughout history
Milestones define the standards for the threshold concepts and provide clarity about what is to be learnt in each Key Stage.
D&T is a true cross-curricular subject as projects are developed through links with other subjects. Therefore, we take this approach through our long term planning which draws on not only disciplines such as English, mathematics, art, science and computing, but also children’s ongoing understanding of British Values and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. We encourage pupils to research and experiment with a range of materials and textiles which allows children to explore ideas with the aim to design purposeful and functional products. Food technology is implemented across the school with children developing an understanding of where food comes from, the importance of a varied and healthy diet and how to prepare this. Children apply their technical knowledge through research and exploration of products and structures to develop their ideas, working collaboratively to explore, critique and develop their own and classmates’ creations. They have time to continually evaluate their work, allowing time to amend products and build on their knowledge and understanding of technical skills in a range of contexts.
Children are reminded of the key skills of being a designer during their lessons, a copy of which can be found in their folders.
Formative assessment of children's learning takes place during their lessons to monitor their understanding, knowledge and skills by the class teacher. This is then used to inform scaffolding and challenge required by the children.
Summative assessment is conducted through ongoing learning and at the end of each half term to inform the subject leader of progress, skills and knowledge still to be embedded. Images of the children’s learning are used to record skills and outcomes.
Design Technology is also monitored by the subject leader through termly interviews with children along with their D&T folders, which aids the subject leader in making informed decisions regarding children’s learning and their progression through the milestones.
Pupils with Special Education Needs or Disabilities
Appropriate seating arrangements allow all children in the class to communicate, respond and interact with each other and the teacher. Working in pairs and small groups allow opportunities for discussion, peer support and collaboration when working on projects.
Our resources are made accessible through clear labelling in large print which also includes images to encourage independent use. The use of displays of finished or ongoing work are informative and engaging and used as a resource for teaching and learning. Multi-sensory approaches and children's preferred learning styles are identified and built on.
A range of approaches are used to support teacher talk including visual aids and alternative communication modes, such as sign or symbol systems.
Children are made aware of any health and safety issues relating to the use of equipment and children with less awareness of dangers, are closely monitored to ensure they are engaging in the activities safely.
We provide planning support through consulting children wherever possible, about the type and level of support they require. Children have access to specific and generic aids in order for them to complete tasks. Children who have sensory needs or are averse to handling certain materials (such as clay or chalk) are provided with plastic gloves in order for them to feel comfortable in taking part. Children who have sensitivity to light are included by ensuring interactive whiteboards are non-reflective to reduce glare. Support from additional adults is planned to scaffold children’s learning, allowing them, increasingly, to work independently.
How does DT promote British Values?
At St Dennis Primary Academy, children follow the rule of law by developing an understanding of the importance of safety rules when using tools. Individual liberty enables children the freedom to express themselves through the design process and in the creation of a wide variety of products. Children are taught about tolerance of faiths and beliefs when they are encouraged to evaluate products from a range of times and cultures as well as their own. This enables children to appreciate that design ideas originate from other cultures.
Children are also expected to be able to take turns during discussions, resolve difficulties or make decisions, for example, when choosing materials for making a product. Design Technology also promotes the opportunity to offer supportive comments in evaluations that will improve learning outcomes in a way that is thoughtful and kind.
Children have the right to make their own choices but are encouraged to take the views and opinions of others into account. Opportunities are presented, enabling children to understand the value of compromise. During lessons, pupils are expected to listen to and consider the ideas and opinions of others. This teaches them mutual respect and acceptance of the democratic right to have an opinion and to understand that the ideas of others are as valid as their own.
How to help your child at home
There are many opportunities to help your child to enjoy this subject at home. By engaging in any type of design and technology, it will give your child opportunities to actively contribute to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of themselves, their community and their nation. It teaches how to take risks and so become more resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable.
Understanding how to prepare and cook food, and the importance of hygiene as well as a balanced diet, is a crucial life skill. Is there a favourite family recipe that your child could help you with? As well as producing a lovely dish, the children will have experienced being involved in measuring and weighing the ingredients, which also helps their mathematical skills.
Do you have any old torches or clocks that your child could dismantle in order for them to gain understanding of their workings? Or perhaps constructing a bug hotel or a miniature garden from anything that comes to hand.