Design and Technology focuses on planning, designing and creating things (products) which people use.
Design and Technology at Elmhurst Junior School helps children to prepare for the developing world. This subject encourages children to become creative problem solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team. Through the study of design and technology, pupils combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues. The Design and Technology curriculum at Elmhurst enables all children to become discriminating and informed consumers and potential innovators. It also assists children in developing a greater awareness and understanding of how everyday products are designed and made.
At Elmhurst Junior School, we follow the ‘Design, Make, Evaluate’ approach to the teaching of DT, as outlined in the National Curriculum Programmes of Study document. This subject is taught over three half terms for every year group across the school and maintains strong cross curricular links with other subjects as it is taught alongside our knowledge-rich history and geography projects.
During our weekly DT sessions, children are encouraged to be inquisitive about the way products work. We encourage both asking and answering questions in order to deepen children’s understanding of product and product design. They use market research to inform their designs and, as they move up through the school, are encouraged to draw detailed designs and make prototypes in order to refine their designs before creating their final piece. Work is recorded in individual DT books. Whilst making their products, staff guide pupils through the technical skills they will require, modelling good practice and highlighting safety considerations with the children. Through the evaluation stage, children are encouraged to reflect upon their final products, considering how they could have altered their design or techniques to impact the overall appearance and usability of their product.
Knowledge of substantive concepts and disciplinary concepts have been interleaved across the curriculum, allowing children to encounter and apply these in different contexts. From year to year, unit to unit, our Design and Technology curriculum supports children in making connections and building upon prior substantive and disciplinary knowledge.
Design and Technology knowledge organisers highlight the key knowledge and vocabulary for each lesson and pupils use their DT books to record their work. Sticky knowledge is checked through the use of retrieval questions and through interactive displays. Key questions are planned into each unit of work for pupils to show progression of knowledge and understanding of key concepts taught, either through verbal or written feedback. This allows teachers to assess pupils’ skills and knowledge throughout each unit taught. Any areas for development throughout the unit are identified and addressed appropriately by the teacher and live feedback techniques help all children to move forward, deepening their understanding of key knowledge and skills in Design and Technology.
Throughout each unit of work, pupils are encouraged to articulate and reflect upon their learning and retrieval activities such as Talk Like A Designer, in conjunction with subject specific sentence stems, displays and quizzes are used to support this. The learning journey for each half term is culminated by a final piece of work showcasing the knowledge and skills that have been learnt. All children have access to the full curriculum and tasks are adapted to provide appropriate challenge and support depending on individual needs. Design and Technology resources are allocated to year groups and specific units of work, allowing teachers to support effective learning.
Outcomes in pupils’ DT books provides clear evidence of a broad and balanced curriculum and demonstrates children’s acquisition of key knowledge and skill development. Pupils’ learning is assessed on a lesson-by-lesson basis through the use of verbal feedback, written feedback, peer and self-review. Key questions, which are planned into each unit of work, allow teachers to assess pupils’ skills and knowledge throughout each unit.
Knowledge retrieval activities like Talk Like A Designer are used to enable teachers to assess the depth of understanding of core substantive knowledge and vocabulary and the strength of its retrieval. Weekly celebration assemblies showcase a variety of Design and Technology activities and work completed across all year groups. This evidence informs teacher assessment and is used by the Design and Technology subject leader as part of the monitoring process.
In addition, the subject leader talks to pupils about their learning as part of the monitoring process to gauge attainment and enthusiasm. Children’s DT books and knowledge organisers are used to guide discussion and provide the subject leader with the necessary information to measure how much core knowledge and vocabulary has been remembered and understood.