Our Design & Technology Coordinator is Mr Adlington.
Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you look deeper, it’s really how it works.Steve Jobs
Design & technology prepares children to deal with tomorrow’s rapidly changing world. It encourages children to become independent, creative problem-solvers and think as individuals and as part of a team – making positive changes to their quality of life. It enables them to identify needs and opportunities and to respond to them by developing a range of ideas and by making products and systems. Through the study of design & technology, children combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues, as well as functions and industrial practices. This allows them to reflect on and evaluate present and past design & technology assessing its use and impact on the world. Design & technology helps all children to become astute and informed future consumers and potential innovators.
Key Changes to the Design & Technology Curriculum
At Towngate Primary Academy, our design & technology curriculum is constructed to inspire children think innovatively and inquisitively. We provide varied learning opportunities which aim to develop not only children’s technical skill in design & technology; but also to develop their wider knowledge of product design and their ability to apply vocabulary accurately.
Design & technology is delivered as a discrete subject and, wherever possible, cross curricular links are formed. Design & technology links well with many other subjects, such as art, maths and science and teachers carefully plan these links to ensure they are meaningful. In addition, across the academy we hold INSPIRE events which enhances our design & technology curriculum. However, teachers make it explicit to the children that they are learning design & technology skills and encourage them to think like ‘Designers.’
Our design & technology curriculum covers the skills outlined in the national curriculum through broad, challenging and inspiring units of work. The required coverage of the national curriculum is then broken down into long term plans, which is further divided into medium term plans by teachers. A curriculum coverage document maps out when each year group is completing a specific unit of work and reflects how each element of design & technology is covered throughout the year groups. Progression grids are used in order to ensure knowledge, skills and vocabulary build year on year. This ensures that by the end of year 6 pupils have a wealth of knowledge and skills to aid in their future studies. The progression grid builds on prior learning so that children can develop effective schemas to organise existing information and form relationships with new information. Teachers follow the ‘Projects on a Page’ documents supplied by The Design and Technology Association to support their planning.
Design & technology lessons begin with a daily/weekly review activity which acts as a recap for prior knowledge. This activity might take the form of quick quizes, vocabulary flashcards or any other short activity which promotes information recall. New information is presented in small and simple steps, after which pupils are provided time to practise, in an effort to support working memory. Teachers pose carefully considered questions which elict information from pupils and allows them to provide indepth responses to deepen their understanding. To support learning teachers provide clear models to demonstrate concepts to pupils and use thinking aloud strategies to cognitively support learners. Pupils are shown how to work in accordance with health and safety guidance when using tools and materials.
Working walls are displayed in classrooms which allows children to consistently see good examples and the vocabulary needed to articulate their opinions in design & technology. Teachers refer to the working walls when modelling concepts or solving design problems which is a crucial strategy for enabling pupils to become independent. Pupils are supplied with all the materials and tools needed to create a functional product in the classroom.
British Values and SMSC
Through design & technology there are many approaches and attitudes to learning which have links to British Values and SMSC. This is something as an academy we are working to develop. Please see the document titled ‘Promotion of British Values and SMSC through Design & Technology’ for further details.
Within key stage 1 we aim to develop design, creativity and problem solving through purposeful design projects which promote the children’s skills in developing as individuals and as part of a team. Futher more, key stage 1 is a vital time to develop children’s understanding of the process designers engage in to ensure their finished product is effective. Children are introduced to important figures in design & technology and discuss their impact upon the world. Key stage 1 also aims to promote in children a clear understanding of where food comes from.
Within key stage 2 key events and individuals that have influenced the world of design & technology are covered in more depth and sophistication to ensure children can observe the wider context of design & technology.
The use of computer programmes and applications are also a key focus to be utilised by children in their design of their products.
Teachers continually assess children in design & technology lessons. The progression grid document is used as a reference for what practical skills, knowledge and vocabulary children should know by the end of each year group. This assessment is then used to inform differentiation, support and challenge required by the children.
Design & technology is also monitored by the subject leader throughout the year in the form of book monitoring, lesson observations and pupil interviews to discuss their learning and establish what children know and can remember once a unit of work has been completed.
Please visit our twitter feed to see what we are learning about across the school in Design & Technology: