The difference between Art and DT is often blurred. At Carlton Miniott Primary Academy, we ensure all of our planned DT projects have purpose to engage children in their learning, valuing Design and Technology as an inspiring and practical subject. Children are encouraged to use creativity and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts. Through high quality teaching and learning, we ensure that children acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. We want pupils to become resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. We understand and want children to contribute to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the world, equipped with the Design and Technology skills to facilitate this.
Passion for Learning
At Carlton Miniott, Design and Technology is primarily delivered through the theme or topic outlined in our Long Term Plans. Design and Technology is often planned alongside our art, meaning each half term, each class will have an art or Design and Technology focused project, linked with topic learning. Staff are able to design the structure of lessons according to priorities for learning. Some Design and Technology projects may present as a build up of weekly skills lessons, culminating as a finished piece. However, some units may be delivered as a ‘DT’ day or week. Our school is well-resourced to provide experiences across Design and Technology teaching in order to create purposeful projects linked to wider-curriculum learning.
Design and Technology is given a high priority in EYFS. Children are encouraged to explore and develop making skills throughout the provision. Critical thinking is actively fostered in the Reception classroom, where children are inspired to find ways to solve problems, make predictions and test their ideas. Adults are instrumental in planning linked projects into the curriculum and modelling creative thinking and planning. They support children’s interests and use in-depth questioning to extend learning, scaffolding the children in reviewing their success and changing their approaches to problem solving. The classroom environment includes building, creative, woodwork and outdoor areas to support their Design and Technology experiences. By planning opportunities for cooking, our EYFS children are able to weigh, measure and explore objects, whilst practising their manipulative skills. Cooking and understanding a varied diet are important aspects in our children’s understanding of the world.
Teaching and learning is linked closely with topic themes in order to inspire our children. Children throughout Key Stage 1 are taught design technology in specific sequence, in line with the National Curriculum. Initially, they must design and develop their ideas, presenting them in a variety of ways to suit purpose. They then learn to select tools and materials with which to construct their product before evaluating its success. Technical knowledge is an important aspect of our skills progression – in this key stage, children explore the use of mechanisms and how to make structures more stable. Our children understand the developmental approach to design technology, being resilient to self- and peer- evaluation in aiding their accomplishments in this subject. Key Stage 1 children also learn where food comes from and what a healthy diet looks like in order to prepare dishes.
Concepts and skills embedded in Key Stage 1 continue to be developed throughout the second key stage, progressing in technicality and across a wide range of contexts. Through high quality teaching and learning, children are taught to research, generate, model and communicate their ideas against design criteria. Their practical skills are also further developed, using a wider range of tools, materials and processes, increasing with accuracy. Technical knowledge is more advanced in this key stage as the children are expected to use mechanical and electrical systems in their products, as well as using computing skills to program and control projects. Again, cooking is a much-loved element to Design Technology learning in this key stage. Our children are taught to understand seasonality, also learning how and where a wide range of foods come from. They are able to use a range of cooking techniques to prepare a range of dishes with a healthy and varied diet as a basis.
Outside of the classroom
- Extra-curricular clubs e.g. baking and practical maths
- ‘Wellies on Wednesday’ for EYFS children
- Residential Trips
Our teaching and learning for Design and Technology is presented in Wonderful Work books, and as final products. Whether a project is taught weekly, or across a themed day, the full design process will be visibly recorded. As final pieces are often created outside of our books, these works are photographed to showcase the result of the project learning. Learning objectives are clearly stated throughout the units to give context to the learning and allows us to appreciate the progression a child makes in being creative across the topic.
In order to create effective learning experiences in DT for our children, staff plan DT sessions in a particular sequence. This allows for consistency and ensures learning is purposeful and well structured. The flow of lessons or activities within a lesson will follow this sequence:
Background research > Design Criteria > Planning > Making > Evaluation.
Often, the focus for children’s learning (that can be seen in Wonderful Work books) throughout a particular unit will centre around one or two of these skills, but all aspects will be included when planning and teaching.
Planning for Progress
Staff use long term planning and skills documents in order to plan blocks of learning. This provides a learning focus and purpose for the different projects across the year, ensuring skills are covered reliably, teaching is correctly pitched and progression across different year groups is built upon.
Teachers use Insight to assess children against year group objectives and skills, evidencing coverage and ensuring ‘gaps’ are used to inform planning and make judgements.
The subject leader can then use Insight data and evidence in Wonderful Work books in order to monitor curriculum coverage, skills progression and pupil attainment. The subject leader is a point of call for staff in terms of subject knowledge and providing ideas for teaching.
Carlton Miniott’s ‘Keep Up Not Catch Up’ approach also encompasses our Design and Technology teaching. Direct and immediate feedback is given to pupils in order to foster progression throughout the session. Reflecting on their own achievements and evaluating the effectiveness of their product is paramount in ensuring children strive for growth in skills.