Design Technology at Overleigh St Mary’s C of E Primary School
Through our Design Technology curriculum, we strive to inspire pupils’ curiosity and knowledge about the design and technology process, applications of Design Technology and to provide evidence of examples all around us in our environment. Through the teaching of Design Technology, we endeavour to teach children to recognise how design and technology influences our lives, the processes involved in designing and creating objects fit for purpose, the use of key methods and tools and how they can be utilised during the design process.
At Overleigh, we are guided by the National Curriculum for Design Technology (2014). The National Curriculum for Design Technology aims to ensure that all pupils have
- the opportunity to design, make and evaluate products suited to a purpose
- to learn key skills and the use of tools to enable them to successfully design and use technology.
We intend for our children to have real life experiences and learn about Design Technology in an active and creative way and therefore visits, practical designing, making and evaluating as well as cross-curricular links form a fundamental part of our curriculum.
Children explore key concepts as they move through the school. Our curriculum is laid out in such a way that the children will initially learn about their Design Technology encompassed in their knowledge and understanding of the world. This will be a starting block in EYFS and built upon as they enter Key Stage 1. Once this is consolidated, they will gain a wider experience of the designing, making and evaluating of products. As a child moves through our school, their knowledge and understanding will deepen as it would have been built on the foundations laid in the previous years. The concepts that children explore are revisited in different units that include mechanisms, electrical systems and mechanical systems allowing children to apply new knowledge to the concept in order to prepare them for future learning and life.
For example, children in Key Stage 1 might focus more on practically making a playground swing, whereas study in Lower Key Stage 2 would be enhanced through looking at stiffening and strengthening such a structure, moving through to looking at the mechanical systems that enable the swing to move efficiently in Upper Key Stage 2.
We teach Design Technology as a discrete subject. Where it benefits learning, we use opportunities to apply in other subjects, for example, use of key measurements in maths, or creating instructions in English to re-create a particular design project or evaluate a finished product in relation to how it is suited to its original purpose.
Our key vocabulary for each unit is identified in medium term planning and through unit cards for each topic, and children will learn key vocabulary as stated on each planning card. The children will also develop knowledge of key facts in each unit, dependent on the focus and progressing through from EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Lower Key Stage 2 to the top of the school in Upper Key Stage 2.
We implement our curriculum using planning that prioritises five key elements of knowledge and understanding:
- Technical knowledge
- Food and Nutrition
Each unit of design technology work will include the following key elements and is underpinned by our school’s use of the Design and Technology Association’s ‘Projects on a Page’ progressive implementation support tool:
Our Design Technology Curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to ensure progression. Our teachers measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- A knowledge check at the beginning of each unit to see what the children already know
- Link each of our core strands to previous learning, to compare and contrast and to review understanding
- Start lessons with a recap of key knowledge and understanding from the previous session
- Provide opportunities each lesson to use the key vocabulary
- Provide opportunities for open-ended tasks, to allow the more able students to demonstrate their greater knowledge
- Assess children at the end of the unit against key knowledge and learning
The leadership team check that this impact is being secured through monitoring the subject on a regular basis. The method of monitoring supports the ongoing development of the curriculum. This includes:
- Staff subject knowledge, which is audited each year to ensure knowledge is secure, and additional support provided if necessary
- Termly staff meetings linked to SIP to discuss and evaluate the effectiveness of topics with the subject leaders. From this, medium term planning is amended and adapted to ensure the curriculum remains relevant for the children
- A ‘pupil voice’, which is conducted at the beginning and end of each year to allow pupils to contribute to their curriculum content
- Monitoring of work against the medium-term plans in Spring term, so that inconsistencies can be addressed
- Tracking of content against the long-term plan of the school, to ensure the full breadth of the curriculum is met.
The impact of this is to ensure that children at Overleigh are equipped with skills and knowledge of Design Technology, which will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world.