Purpose of study:
Design and Technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, students design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Students learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.
Our curriculum aims to ensure that all students:
- 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
There is significant variability in how primary schools approach teaching design technology at KS2 and our students enter secondary school with wide ranging experiences, knowledge, understanding and skills. They generally lack knowledge, skills and any workshop experience. Our rural community often gives students added confidence with practical work which requires the safe use of tools and equipment to be further embedded into their learning.
In Design and Technology, students need to be able to combine practical and technological skills with creative thinking to design and make products and systems that meet human needs and prepare them for adult life in a practical, mindful and creative way. They need to learn to use current technologies and consider the impact of future technological developments.
They need to learn to think creatively to improve quality of life, solving problems as individuals and members of a team. Students need to understand their responsibility as global citizens to think and act sustainably.
Students learn to use a wide range of materials and the tools and equipment for forming them. Most projects require a user/client response which then creates a response to generate design ideas and inform production.
The KS3 curriculum is focused on building foundational skill, being able to make choices of materials, tools and techniques. Students need to develop the skills and confidence to use professional tools and equipment to design and make a series of products across the range of specialisms and learn to apply their knowledge and skills to create more complex products with a high level of finish. To learn, students need opportunities to retrieve and practice knowledge and skills to develop their proficiency and enable them to produce better quality products. They need to develop a variety of research skills to support idea generation and consider needs of others as they do in industry. Students need to develop evaluative and analysis skills and be able to apply them within different contexts.
Design and technology covers the disciplines of working with wood, plastic, metal, textiles and systems and control. With the assumption of no workshop experience at the start of Year 7, students will use professional tools and equipment to design and make a series of projects which cover each of the specialisms with a gradually more complex and developed level of production. At the heart of every project is a core of safety and constant reiteration of the safe use of equipment. Each practical project is linked to a variety of research, ideas, analysis and evaluation tasks which culminates in Year 11 with the production of their NEA (Non Exam Assessment) where they get the opportunity to showcase their skills.
For the research, analysis and evaluative sections of the curriculum, students will explore their projects through written and illustrated work which encourages imagination and innovation. Design ideas and development becomes gradually more complex throughout the years with more technical and artistic techniques taught with each project.
The KS3 curriculum starts with developing a firm foundation of safety, which continue as a ‘golden thread’ throughout the KS3 and KS4 curriculum; this enables students to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in a safe way. The curriculum provides students
with the opportunity and breadth of knowledge which envelops a vast range of topics. From this broad foundation, students become more innovative and develop the skills and knowledge needed to design and make products at a high level. The curriculum is built on 6 areas of design technology:
- Making skills
- Technical skills
All projects ensure that students are able to develop the knowledge and skills in each of these 6 areas. There is a degree of flexibility within the projects, allowing students to have input and to take into consideration materials. The curriculum aims to ensure that students understand their responsibility as global citizens to think and act sustainably and the concept of recycling and re-using is embedded into everyday thinking. As students progress through the curriculum they develop the knowledge and skills to be able to apply their learning with increasing independence.
Extra-curricular clubs provide the opportunity for all students to develop their knowledge, skills and expertise in their particular areas of interest. Our model railway club is particularly popular. Design and Technology also leads an annual STEM trip to Oxford and regularly enters DT focused competitions through the Rotary Club and Lancaster University.
When designing our curriculum, we have considered the individual needs of our students. To ensure that students with SEND have the opportunity to develop the same knowledge and skills as their peers, we adopt a range of strategies within the classroom such as in class support from a teaching assistant, smaller group teaching and adapted equipment where necessary. This enables students to develop confidence as well as the knowledge and skills they need to progress.
Formative assessment is embedded into every lesson, with verbal feedback. Summative assessment is used at the end of each project. The outcomes of formative assessment and summative assessment are used to inform the curriculum.