Design and Technology Curriculum Statement
Design and Technology is a creative, practical and rigorous subject that brings together skills and knowledge from a wide range of disciplines including science, maths, computing, art, PSHE and engineering. At Pilsley, children are encouraged to develop practical skills and critical thinking processes to design, make and evaluate products which respond to problems rooted in practical contexts. They are asked to reflect on their designs and the designs of others to consider the impact that quality design can have on daily life in terms of our aesthetic and practical experiences and how design shapes the wider world.
In design there is no one right answer so this is a subject through which we can develop children’s creative and critical thinking skills. We encourage them to take risks in the formulation of their ideas in the knowledge that exceptional creativity can positively affect our lived experiences. We aim for children to leave us well-equipped to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world and with a clear understanding of the importance of responsible design for our environment. Children are encouraged to employ skills from other areas of the curriculum in their design technology lessons using them to a high standard in the presentation of work and communication of ideas.
At Pilsley C of E Primary School we have used the Cornerstones Curriculum to develop a rich Design and Technology programme across all year groups. This is a thematic approach to learning matched to the Early Years Foundation Stage and National curriculums. These encompass learning about: food technology and nutrition, electricity, mechanisms, structures and textiles. Units of learning are embedded in cross curricular investigative projects which provide a strong practical context for pupil’s designs, innovations and subject knowledge. As the children move through the school, they will be given opportunities to build incrementally on the repertoire of skills and knowledge they have already embedded from their prior learning.
Each class follows a two year rolling programme of Cornerstones projects. The Subject leader and class teachers consider the content of each project in the long term planning of the two year cycle. Key skills and knowledge from each project are identified to ensure pupils are taught all the elements of the Design and Technology curriculum at the appropriate stage.
Design Technology is taught in class groups with the emphasis on developing children’s technical and practical expertise through contextualised problem solving. The children are encouraged to work in a range of situations and groupings. As well as working in class opportunities are identified for children to work in family groupings to respond to religious and cultural events. Working in collaboration in different contexts helps our children develop respect for the opinions of others and enables them to evaluate the ideas of others as part of the design process. Pupils are encouraged to work in a democratic way, showing sensitivity towards the ideas of others, to find the most suitable solution to a problem. This is an important part of the design process and through discussion about their choices they become reflective, resilient learners.
At the beginning of each learning project, the children are given the opportunity to identify their own interests, questions and subject knowledge to ensure that projects are tailored to the group of pupils participating. This enables teachers to take account of the children’s varying starting points and adapt projects to ensure children can dig deeper into projects where appropriate or identify those who may need support to access the programme of study. Units of work build on the children’s prior knowledge and taught skills develop in complexity year on year to ensure progression. Assessment for learning strategies are employed to evaluate lesson outcomes to ensure taught skills are embedded for all pupils.
Lessons follow a generate, develop, model and communicate format. Children are encouraged to design purposeful, functional, appealing products based on a design criterion. Children apply their knowledge to solve problems based on stories, characters or rooted in historical, geographical or scientific investigation. Pupils generate, develop, model and communicate their design ideas through talking, drawing, creating templates or mock-ups and using information and communication technology.
Our aim is to give children the knowledge and skills to make confident, informed choices about each design brief. To make appropriate choices in solving design problems they are given time to explore materials, considering their properties and suitability. They have opportunities to evaluate existing products and learn how to use tools and processes safely. When working with food they learn about food origins, spend time exploring texture and taste, and use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes. They are taught to work safely and hygienically in construction and cooking activities being mindful of their well-being and the well-being of others. To help them understand the significance of good design, they are also taught about the life and work of some of the key engineers, scientists, designers, inventors who have helped to shape the modern world.
At Pilsley the Design and Technology curriculum is planned to give our pupils a breadth of experiences. We aim to provide a wide range of choices, materials and tools so that children can apply their knowledge to make considered choices from a wide selection of options. Design and Technology projects are varied and allow children to create and construct in a variety of ways using different scales, materials and contexts to complete their design projects. It is important that children have time to consider the success of their designs and they are asked to evaluate their projects and the projects of others, commenting on what worked well, what could have been improved and what they have learned from the process based on design criteria. They are supported to communicate their evaluations in a range of ways.
Assessment for learning strategies are used in all lessons. Teachers and subject leaders use observations, discussions with pupils as they work, pupil’s written work, sketches, video clips, photos and final products to evaluate pupil outcomes against attainment targets. Teachers consider how pupils engage with making and evaluation process to check understanding and well-being. These strategies provide a clear picture of a child’s level of development and engagement and ensure that teachers can quickly assess when a child does not understand or needs greater support. Lessons are flexible to allow teachers to adapt to the needs of the children. Teachers use their Assessment for learning strategies to adapt future lessons to ensure all pupils make excellent progress.
Progress is assessed regularly. At the end of each term, assessment data is gathered and progress is checked by subject coordinators and the Senior Leadership Team. Teachers moderate their judgements across the school and in local clusters. Subject co-ordinators monitor children’s recorded work and liaise with teachers to monitor judgements against national level descriptors.
In the Foundation Stage Design and Technology skills and knowledge are taught through Expressive Arts and Design and Physical Development. Physical Development, a prime area, helps children develop the motor skills to manipulate tools and materials. Children in Foundation Stage have daily opportunities to build these skills through through the use of the continuous provision. The 'Creation Station' provides the children with materials and tools to box model and practice skills such as snipping with scissors, using split pins and joining materials together in different ways. The construction area offers opportunities to design and build with a wide range of construction kits. Outdoors, children are encouraged to design and build on a larger scale in the outdoor area or Forest school area using large construction blocks and loose parts. The mud kitchen provides the children to design, mix and make in a range of ways. In addition, there are specifically planned activities linked to our topic and which develop skills and ensure progression in this area.