“It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.”
“Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating. Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.”
Donald A. Norman
Subject Leader: Mrs Lisa Shooter
At Abbeyfields we aim to provide a high-quality DT education, which will engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own products.
Design and Technology gives our children the opportunity to explore their own creativity and individuality. They learn about the process of designing, making and evaluating products and become more confident and thoughtful in each of these aspects as they progress through school.
Aims in teaching DT at Abbeyfields:
We aim to:
- develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world
- build up and apply their growing knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality products
- evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others
- understand about healthy eating and what makes a healthy meal.
How is the content of design technology curriculum chosen?
Whenever possible, we teach through a themed approach, to enable children to embed learning and make connections, which leads to a greater depth of understanding within the subject. The content is therefore chosen to make effective links with key themes, reflect expectations in the National Curriculum programmes of study and EYFS framework and engage the children. The content may also be chosen based upon the needs or interests of specific cohorts or links to events which are taking place in the community or wider world.
How do we ensure progression of knowledge and skills?
At Abbeyfields we have in place, for each subject area, a knowledge and skills progression document, which is used for planning, to ensure sequenced and appropriate content for specific year groups, as well as a build up of subject specific vocabulary, knowledge and skills.
Within these documents there are also opportunities for building on prior learning, challenge and differentiation, in order to meet the needs of all learners.
How do we teach Design Technology at Abbeyfields?
A long term plan for DT maps out the coverage of the discrete teaching and learning opportunities for children to use and explore different skills and techniques. This provides them with a wide range of discrete experiences during their time in Key Stage 1 and 2.
Within each discrete block of DT teaching, class teachers carefully plan the specific outcomes for their year group, based upon age appropriate knowledge and skills, as well as the needs of the cohort or individuals within it. Our teaching and learning opportunities ensure all children are introduced to and reminded of key vocabulary. We access and use detailed planning and guidance from the DT Association to shape our medium term plans and ensure they are adapted to meet the needs of our children and the curriculum we offer.
Questioning is used to check their understanding and prior knowledge, before new concepts or skills are introduced. Modelling is used by class teachers to clarify expectations, children are then given plentiful opportunities to consolidate, build upon and apply basic skills in order to produce a piece of work which showcases what they have learnt.
When children are learning about a subject through discrete teaching sessions they are explicitly told that today they are going to be ‘designers and makers’ etc. They are then reminded of the key skills that they will learn, use and develop within that subject.
In DT these are:
We are learning to
- create designs and drawings to show our ideas
- articulate our designs and ideas to others using words, pictures, diagrams, notes etc
- use a variety of tools and materials safely
- use our imagination and creativity
- evaluate, change and adapt my ideas
- consider the purpose and audience of my design
In addition to discrete teaching in this subject, opportunities for DT through additional projects and links with other subject areas, ensure that elements of the DT curriculum are accessed by children throughout the year. Our outdoor education centre has a wealth of resources to enhance and consolidate discrete teaching of DT. The WILD PASSPORT curriculum also has links with our DT curriculum to build on skills.
Through studying a range of people from the past and present who have had an impact on the world of design, as well as a range of countries and cultures, children learn about and are taught to challenge stereotypes connected to gender, wealth, disability and cultural background. They are educated that differences should be celebrated and are not a barrier to achievement.
Healthy eating is promoted through daily routines in school as well as being part of our progressive DT curriculum. All year groups have a focus on the Eatwell plate within the Cooking and Nutrition strand, children knowing where food comes from, seasonal produce etc as well as knowing how to prepare food safely and hygienically.
Teaching Design Technology in the Early Years
Planning and teaching in EYFS is similar to that in Key Stage 1. The children are expected to develop a specific set of skills and knowledge appropriate to their age. This is often beyond the expectations that are set out in the end of year Early Learning Goals, in order to prepare them for our Year 1 curriculum.
As well as topic work and the discrete teaching of skills and knowledge, children in EYFS are given the opportunity to continually practise and embed their skills through the areas of provision set up in the indoor and outdoor learning environments.
How do we know that our children are making progress in Design Technology?
Ongoing assessments of the children’s knowledge and skills are observed by the class teacher. Misconceptions are addressed and next steps carefully planned. Children’s outcomes are compared to the subject specific skills and knowledge documents. At the end of a block of discrete teaching (or term) subject leaders gather an overview of children’s outcomes in each subject area. This is used to plan appropriate next steps for their future learning, as well as provide an overview of learning within a subject area across the whole school. Assessment opportunities are provided at the beginning of a unit of work to ensure children have remembered and retained key knowledge from previous year groups before learning new knowledge and skills.
Our curriculum drivers are central to our curriculum. How do we promote reading, vocabulary acquisition, holistic education and diversity?
Design Technology allows our children to be creative, independent, learn new vocabulary, as well as demonstrate a sense of pride in their work. Positive relationships in school ensure that children get the opportunity to work collaboratively together on projects, as well as recognise how to sensitively respond to others when offering evaluations of their work.
Participation in DT activities develops physical skills including fine motor control and hand-eye co-ordination. It allows us opportunities to reinforce the importance of health and safety issues. It also has a positive effect on children’s well-being. Our aim is for all children to have access to the curriculum and opportunities on offer.
Through DT, children are enabled to discover how inventions have shaped our history and contributed to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation and the wider world. Looking at famous structures, such as the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower help children when they are designing similar frame and shell structures for themselves. Work in school also shows children how DT can impact on the wider World and provides children with opportunities to raise their aspirations and think about future careers which require skills and knowledge from DT.
Learning in the cooking and nutrition element of design technology promotes our ethos of establishing good habits and routines to ensure good physical health both now and in the future. This strand of DT helps children understand the Eatwell plate and how to prepare food safely and hygienically.
What wider opportunities are provided for our children?
We regularly hold workshops and inspire days where children invite their parents and carers into school to teach them the skills that they have learnt. We hold STEM events where children can see how DT fits into the wider world, raising the aspirations of our children and their future careers. We use our outdoor education centre to deliver our universal curriculum offer in design technology, but this inspirational resource also provides additional opportunities to embed key skills in DT for example, rope work, shelter building and the John Muir Award.
How do we keep children and adults safe within our DT provision?
Examples of engagement and learning in Design Technology at Abbeyfields