At St James’ Blackburn Church of England Primary School we value Design Technology and the children are designers and technologists! We want children to love design technology and know that they can become architects, graphic designers, chefs or carpenters if they wish! We want children to realise they can achieve whatever they want to and be ‘exceptional in all they do!’
The curriculum has been designed to inspire pupils using practical activities, developing their resilience and independence, and enhancing their design and technology capital. The curriculum is designed to allow pupils to use their creativity and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems. These could be in a variety of contexts. Through the curriculum pupils will develop their subject knowledge using local designers as inspiration and relevant designers that have had huge influence on products over the years and through an evaluation of past and current design and technology, will develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the world. Children will be able to take risks and learn to draw upon other areas of the curriculum to support them in design such as maths, science, art and computing. We want children to remember their lessons and give them opportunities they may not be able to experience outside of school. For example, Helmshore Mills Textile Museum and speaking to local chefs within the area.
The Design Technology curriculum has been created to ensure that high standards of teaching and learning are taking place across the school. DT is taught every other week throughout school, focussing on one topic every term, covering objectives stated in the National Curriculum. As a school, we find this teaching approach works well in comparison to teaching DT in blocks, as it allows adequate time for the subject to be taught and ensures the children’s knowledge is secure and is being retained into their long term memory.
The DT curriculum is planned to demonstrates progression. Children will be able to access a curriculum which will allow them to gain a coherent understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school. Key vocabulary and key learning is supported by a ‘sticky knowledge organiser,’ which supports multilingual children with their vocabulary acquisition and understanding to support their learning and understanding throughout each topic.
A scheme of work has been created for each topic which highlights and outlines the objectives for each DT lesson. The schemes of work focus on providing all children with engaging activities and resources; to help children to achieve each national curriculum objective. Each lesson typically starts with an enquiry question followed by a previous knowledge quiz which is linked to the objective and the previous lessons learning, to ensure that the children understood the objective and are able to apply their learning and understanding in order to enhance their learning. Children have the opportunity to explore existing products for inspiration or try to design products to overcome real life problems. Children practise the skills and techniques involved in the innovation and design stages where they record and evidence their own work. Children then have the opportunity to revisit ideas before producing their final piece. This sequence of learning is followed for each design topic. Plans are adapted regularly based on the children’s’ needs and the vast majority of DT lessons are taught discretely, with meaningful links made across subjects where appropriate. For example, in Year 3 Egyptian Clothing links to their history unit, Year 4’s topic of ‘Torches’ links to their science unit of electricity and Year fives unit of Rockets links to their space unit within Science.
As a school, we believe that our pupils need to be actively involved in making sense of their own learning. Within each year group, DT strands are revisited in a progressive manner to ensure that children have the opportunity to build upon previous skills and knowledge.
At St. James’ we assess the topics termly, with both a formative and summative approach. Staff will use this information to inform their short term planning and tailor plans to meet the children’s specific needs and interests. These assessments are collected frequently and analysed as part of the monitoring cycle which informs future planning, so that provisions can be adapted accordingly. Continual assessment of DT allows us to provide the best possible support and challenge for all children and ensures we have an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in DT. Additional assessment tools include: Prior Learning quizzes, End of Unit quizzes, Challenges, Pupil Voice, marking of sketch books and Book scrutinies.
By providing a DT curriculum that ensures progression and repetition, pupils will develop the skills and knowledge needed to meet the end of key stage expectations. Pupils should leave St James’ with an in-depth knowledge of how design has shaped the world around us and an insight into some of the designers behind these inventions, including local designers to Blackburn. They should leave St James’ with a fondness for Design Technology, remembering their inspiring lessons and experiences in school. Pupils will be resilient and independent designers knowing how to use a range of techniques and skills to create a final piece. Children should be confident in their willingness to take creative risks to produce innovative ideas. Children will be able to evaluate their own and other’s work thinking about materials and tools used being used safely.