Design and Technology Statement
The purpose of Design and Technology at Withycombe Raleigh Primary School is to give our children invaluable opportunities to use their creativity and imagination to design and make a breadth of products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. We want to inspire our pupils while they develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world. Our aim is to empower each individual with skills and knowledge that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. We strive to unlock their ability to be the designers and innovators of tomorrow.
We endeavour to provide children with well-chosen opportunities to: create excitement, express creativity, think critically, make decisions and gain distinctive knowledge of how Design and Technology impacts on the world. At Withycombe Raleigh Primary School, we want our children to learn to think creatively to solve problems both as individuals or team members in order to make purposefully-designed and innovative products. Where possible, our curriculum keeps pace with technological developments.
Children are given the opportunity to solve real and relevant problems in D&T lessons, following ‘design briefs’ to understand the product’s purpose and use and ‘design criteria’ to establish its functions and ‘must haves’.
While developing essential skills, children will typically: research existing products, make annotated sketches and develop / finalise their designs - prior to making the product. Evaluation is integral to all stages of the process as modelled in the ‘Evaluation Cycle’.
At Withycombe Raleigh Primary School, we recognise how and when Cognitive Load Theory, and Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction, can make learning more efficient by empowering teaching and learning methods that reflect this. Through exciting learning experiences, pupils will gain knowledge, develop links and review prior learning in order to improve their understanding of the different aspects of this important subject. We aim to, wherever possible, make links between D&T and other disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. These cross curricular links allow children to draw upon and make meaningful connections between knowledge gained in D&T and across the broader curriculum. For example, the use of electrical circuits in Science supports children with designing / making of torches.
Children will have opportunities to develop their Design and Technology skills through enriching experiences and real-life application. By doing so, children will apply what they have learnt by connecting information and ideas.
They will also have opportunities to explore how Design and Technology has adapted and changed over time and reasons for this. Our children are also provided with opportunities to consider topical events and the role of new technology when applying their skills to the process of designing and making products. Our curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to develop knowledge of electronics and control systems - an area that we consider to be important at a time of rapid technological advancement.
Opportunities are planned to develop children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, including through our school GRACE values. Health and safety and hygiene considerations are taught throughout.
It is our intention that children will become passionate and knowledgeable about Design and Technology by learning through experiences.
We ensure that the status and importance of Design and Technology as a subject is recognised by ensuring that high standards of teaching and learning in Design and Technology are delivered.
We implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Each termly unit of work is carefully planned across each Key Stage to ensure that pupils’ learning within the areas of ‘Design’, ‘Make’, ‘Evaluate’ and ‘Technical Knowledge’ are developed as a coherent whole when they are designing and practically making products. Design and Technology lessons can also be taught as a block so that children’s learning is focused throughout each unit of work.
Teachers take steps to maintain the interest and relevance of children’s learning by linking in pupils’ interests and by establishing real contexts for their projects.
The Design and Technology curriculum sets out what children should know at different points in their education and builds upon pupils’ prior knowledge, understanding and skills over time. Children at WRPS are encouraged to apply prior knowledge and skills gained in Design and Technology to a range of projects as they move through the school, working with increased accuracy and precision to make innovative products (or part products).
Our teaching of Design and Technology considers how children learn – for this reason teachers employ a range of resources and provide a variety of learning experiences, including use of film clips, photographs, existing products and model with their own examples.
Staff consciously plan projects that are purposeful, engaging and relevant through a variety of creative and practical activities that focus on the knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. We encourage our children to think independently about solutions to problems in the world around them. Pupils investigate, test and analyse products and find out how well they fit the purpose of the user. Pupils are encouraged to evaluate at each stage of the design process - using the ‘Evaluation Cycle’.
Clear expectations around what pupils will know and are able to do with their Design and Technology knowledge and skills are identified including ‘end points’ for each of the different units taught. Work is adapted to offer suitable challenge to all groups of pupils, including the more able. Teaching is inclusive and approaches meet the needs of individual pupils, including those with special educational needs.
Links are made to the wider curriculum providing children with opportunities to use skills and knowledge used in previous projects in previous year groups and advance their independence in their D&T project. For example, experiencing and learning key skills such as cutting, shaping and scoring materials in Key Stage 1 and developing and applying this skill with more accuracy through to Upper Key Stage 2 where we would expect children to measure accurately and use technical vocabulary more effectively. These key skills are woven throughout all Design and Technology topics as children will need to apply them across each project.
Children are encouraged to use computers effectively in D&T for a range of purposes e.g. to research or present data and to communicate with others.
Teachers use highly effective modelling and ‘assessment for learning’ opportunities, including effective, differentiated questioning to challenge pupils’ thinking e.g. about the function of products or the needs of users. Pupils are regularly given the opportunity for self / peer review of their designs and products, informing teachers’ planning, preparation, differentiation and ability to address misconceptions. Importantly, children are provided with opportunities to review their work as it progresses and are provided with clear success criteria in order to achieve their learning objectives and fulfil design briefs..
Principals of Cognitive Load Theory are used to support children in their ability to know more and remember more, making learning more efficient by using teaching and learning methods which:
Measure and review existing knowledge and confidence and adapting teaching accordingly.
Reduce the ‘problem space’ by breaking problems down into component parts e.g. knowing how to cut wood and effectively stick card together as steps in building a lunar vehicle.
Use partially completed problems and worked examples.
Extend the capacity of working memory by using both visual, physical and auditory channels.
Identify which knowledge is most significant – key vocabulary is taught explicitly throughout each unit.
Ensure that pupils have sufficient time to repeat and practise so that knowledge is remembered and stored in their long term memory.
Design and Technology lessons at WRPS utilise the Ten Principles of Instruction, as suggested by Rosenshine (2010). The four strands (Reviewing Material, Questioning, Explaining and Modelling and Practising) help children to avoid overload of their short-term memories and to make connections to their prior learning.
Whenever possible and suitable, our lessons begin with a ‘review’ activity which encourages children to retrieve and recall their prior skills or knowledge and/or vocabulary. Teachers have autonomy over this and carefully link the review task to the learning intention and desired outcome for the lesson. These well-thought-out reviews, designed by teachers, allow children to draw upon previous successes and content (whether in the previous lesson, the previous week, the previous term or the previous year), preparing them for what they are about to learn or the skill that they are about to develop.
Effective use of enrichment activities, including educational visits and visitors are planned to enhance the pupils’ learning experiences within the Design and Technology curriculum. We recognise that knowledge becomes more meaningful when it becomes personal. Where possible teachers draw upon external individuals or organisations to provide further expertise or resources e.g. parents or teachers from local secondary schools
Our educational, immersive displays help to create a rich learning environment for each Design and Technology focus.
Subject Leads and their supporting team deliver effective CPD in staff meetings and provide opportunities to ensure that high levels of confidence and knowledge are maintained within the staff (e.g. sharing research or ideas from the DT Association). Links are also made with other schools to share best practice.
The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum provides a bedrock and supports children’s understanding of Design and Technology through the planning and teaching of ‘Expressive Arts and Design’ and ‘Understanding the World’. This planning considers how design skills range from children’s first ideas developed from first-hand experience of the world in EYFS which will be built upon in KS1 and KS2. In EYFS, children learn about Design and Technology through first-hand experiences and explore how things are made and how things work through the sharing of books, stories, poems, small world play, role play and visits. Children enjoy the valuable experiences gained from trips to places within their local community such as the library, park and local shops. Children are given time to discuss, comment and ask questions about what they observe about the world around them and are encouraged to be active learners and explore their interests further when designing and making products.
At the end of their primary school journey, children will be provided with the opportunities, knowledge and skills to be able to: design and communicate specific aspects of a design and also to choose appropriate materials, tools and techniques to achieve this.
Children at WRPS will acquire the skills and knowledge to develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world. Knowledge and skills will have developed progressively to not only enable them to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum, but to prepare pupils to become competent designers and innovators in secondary education and as an adult in the wider world / world of work.
Our D&T curriculum creates a positive impact on all pupils, including their ability to problem-solve, be creative and show resilience. The subject provides the opportunity for pupils to use different skill-sets and a chance to shine in a different area of the curriculum
The impact of ‘quality first teaching’ in Design and Technology will foster a passion and enthusiasm for the subject with the aim of inspiring children to explore and express their own ideas when designing and creating products. We aim for children to have an enjoyable experience when developing a keen interest in their learning about Design and Technology – evidenced in a range of ways, including pupil voice. Our pupils state that they value designing and the active aspects of making products. They like seeing their plans take shape and solving problems and evaluating through the design stages.
Children are able to create increasingly innovative and high-quality designs. They can review their successes in achieving the lesson objectives and are actively encouraged to identify their own areas of development. We enable our pupils to critically evaluate and ask questions about existing products and what makes a good and poor design, ensuring that pupils know how well they are doing and what they should do to move on to the next level.
We aim that children make good levels of progress over time from their own starting points and that teachers endeavour to clearly know and assess what children have learnt. This will include knowledge of what children have understood securely, and what might need to be reviewed or re-taught as they progress.