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Design and technology

Curriculum Aims: 

Design and Technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. At Hadley Wood Primary School, we value the creative curriculum and believe that it can have a powerful and positive effect on children, helping them to become confident, creative learners who are able to express their individual interests, thoughts and ideas. 

We encourage the children to use their creativity and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. We aim to make links to designs and designers throughout history, providing opportunities for children to critically reflect upon and evaluate others designs and the overall effectiveness of the product before evaluating their own. As pupils progress, we support them to be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of design and technology.  

We encourage children to develop as designers by ensuring they have the opportunity to broaden both their technical skills and their knowledge. Teachers plan a sequence of lessons inspired by exciting and engaging topics to ensure they have progressively covered the knowledge, understanding and skills required in the National Curriculum. The skills covered were devised by the Design and Technology Subject Lead – in collaboration with the teaching team – and are based on the National Curriculum objectives and also using the Chris Quigley objectives.  

Children engage in a broad range of practical experiences to create innovative designs which solve relevant problems and improve children’s ability to control materials, tools and techniques. Teachers implement the iterative design process by encouraging children to design based on prior knowledge, research, design criteria and real problems. Children with evaluate existing products and take risks when making new products, acquiring new skills and selecting from a wide range of materials and components. As part of the process children will be given time to evaluate and improve their products, using a design criteria to guide this reflection. Children will understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped to shape the world. 

Through DT work in the classroom, the children at Hadley Wood Primary School have the opportunity to develop their skills in mechanisms, structures, textiles, mechanical systems, electrical systems and cooking and nutrition. These areas are developed continuously throughout the school from foundation stage through to year six and the children have the opportunity to revisit skills from previous years before learning new ones. We encourage children to express individuality in their work and to keep their own personalised sketchbooks where they can explore ideas, be inventive and take risks. When children leave Hadley Wood Primary School, we expect them to have a wide range of well-developed skills in the six areas of our curriculum that they can then build on and develop further as they continue in their education. 

How we plan for and teach Design and Technology: 

At Hadley Wood Primary School, DT is taught for 3 half terms per year with key skills alternating in each year group. Teachers plan sequences of lessons across the half term that will build on and develop the children’s skills culminating in a final piece. 

The skills and knowledge that children will develop throughout each DT topic are mapped across each year group and across the school to ensure progression. The teaching of DT across the school follows the National Curriculum through the use of Design and Technology Association’s ‘Projects On A Page’ documents. Children design products with a purpose in mind and an intended user of the products.  

Food technology is implemented across the school with children developing an understanding of where food comes from, the importance of a varied and healthy diet and how to prepare this. Each year the children take part in one unit of food technology, researching, designing, preparing and creating food in our dedicated children’s kitchen. Children have the opportunity to grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs at our onsite garden and use these within their cooking where possible. 

The teaching of DT follows the research, design, make and evaluate cycle, with technical knowledge and relevant vocabulary shared at each stage. The design process is always linked to real life, relevant contexts to give meaning to the learning. When making their products, the children are given choice and a wide range of tools and materials to choose from. When evaluating, the children are taught to evaluate their own products against the initial design criteria to see how well it has met the needs and wants of the intended user and to identify any changes that could be made.  

We intend for all units to include the following objectives: 

  • Investigative activities – where children critically evaluate existing products to inform their own design considerations. 
  • Focused practical tasks – where children are given the opportunity to learn and practise new skills and techniques which they can utilise in making products. 
  • ‘Design and make’ assignments – where the children are given the opportunity to be creative, using what they have learned through previous activities. 
  • Evaluating an end product – where children decide if it is fit for its purpose and what changes could be made to improve their design. 

How we evaluate learning in Design and Technology:  

The impact of our DT curriculum can clearly be seen in the children’s Design and Technology books which pass on with them to the following year group. At the beginning of each unit, a detailed overview outlines the Big Question and “Building Blocks” alongside the key skills that the children will build on and those which will follow. The children are also given the opportunity to consider key vocabulary that will be taught during the unit and what their initial thoughts about the meaning of the words are. Throughout the unit children learn the vocabulary and are able to write a definition in the glossary.  

The opportunity to evaluate and reflect on the learning is planned for towards the end of the unit to enable the children to see how their learning is progressing and where they need to take it next.  

On completion of the unit of work, children are able to self-assess against the completed product. Class teachers then use the children’s research and preparatory work, along with the final piece in order to make a judgement whether each child is working at developing, expected or exceeding level.