Design Technology

Curriculum Intent- Design Technology

At Willen Primary we believe that:

  • The effective teaching and learning of Design Technology is crucial to the future of our world.  If we fail to equip children with the thinking skills, ambition and physical skills to solve the problems of the future it will have enormous negative effect on society and our physical world.
  • When learning to design and make children develop wider skills which apply to all areas of their lives. Such as the ability to assess, evaluate, innovate and adapt.
  • Every child has the right to achieve their maximum potential without a pre-conceived limit being put on their ability and attainment.  All children have the capacity to be creative thinkers regardless of barriers they may have in terms of their physical ability or level of literacy or numeracy.
  • Although age of pupils, physical ability and resourcing may impact final products that can be produced in our school.  The potential to design, problem solve and evaluate is limitless.
  • Implementation of Design Technolgy

Children at Willen engage in at least 3 Design and Technology units each academic year.  These units have been carefully selected and mapped out as part of a whole school curriculum.  Each unit builds on skills and knowledge they will have gained previously.  Where it makes logical sense the unit links to other subjects covered by that year group at the same time.

Units of work typically are taught as a block with sessions taught consecutively for between 4 and 8 days.   Sometimes a unit may be spread out with one lesson being taught each week over a term.  Design Technology is usually taught by the class teacher.

Each year group will complete a food technology unit and typically a structures or mechanics unit.  In KS2 there are also units with a computer aided design focus.  In the Early Years DT is taught mostly through continuous provision and play.

During their time at Willen children will engage in a range of design activities multiple times with a spiral approach to building on previous learning.  Units will include a mixture of market research, product testing, designing, making, prototyping, adapting, marketing, and evaluating.  However not all units will involve all stages of the design, make, evaluate, review process and not all units will culminate in a finished product.

Feedback on progress can be made during or after lessons, with the children afforded time to make improvements to their work. Often, children will evaluate their own work or take part in peer assessment. This is reflected in our whole school assessment policy.

Children are generally taught as a whole class, for the research, design and evaluation parts of a unit but may, for practical or safety reasons, divide into groups for the construction, cooking or engineering of a design. 

Lessons will frequently allow students to apply skills and knowledge from other subjects especially English, Maths, Science and Computing however we do not require onerous recording of ideas, designs or evaluations.  At Willen we very much want the focus to be on the design and make skills rather than ability to write them down.  Teachers are given license to be creative in how they get their pupils to demonstrate their understanding and progress.

Each unit starts with a unit overview that is shared with the children.  This acts as an intent statement and helps children understand what they will be learning and how.  The structure of the planning of the unit is then the responsibility of individual teachers.

Individual lessons and the whole units will vary greatly in terms of content and structure.  Over the course of the year children will focus on different elements of the subject as outlined below.  Each unit but not each session will include teacher led activities, discussions and active learning.  There will be time given for experimentation, creativity and skills practice.

Differentiation will mainly be through the level of adult support each child receives. Generally, children will not be given different activities to complete. This may also be seen through the use of enabling and extending techniques.

The Design Technology curriculum is carefully designed to cover six key principles.  Pupils and teachers should be aware of these and how they impact the designs and products that are produced at Willen.  They are:

User - Pupils should have a clear idea of who they are designing and making products for, considering their needs, wants, values, interests and preferences.  The intended users could be themselves or others, an imaginary or story based character, a client, a consumer or a specific target group.

 Purpose - Pupils should be able to clearly communicate the purpose of the products they are designing and making.  Each product they create should be designed to perform one or more defined tasks.  Pupils’ products should be evaluated through use.

 Functionality - Pupils should design and make products that work/function effectively in order to fulfil users needs, wants and purposes.  It is NOT enough to design and make products that are purely aesthetic.

 Design Decisions - Pupils need opportunities to make their own design decisions.  They need to have chances to show their creative, technical and practical expertise, and use learning from other subjects.  The decisions they make need to be more than just how it looks and should include how it works, materials used, tasks it will perform and the user but not necessarily all in the same project.

 Innovation - When designing and making, pupils need some scope to be original with their thinking.  They should not be taught how to make something and then replicate it but instead be taught skills that may be useful to complete a more open ended task.

 Authenticity - Pupils should design and make products that are meaningful and relevant to themselves and others.   These may not always be products that can be entirely produced or taken home but they should know that in theory they could be and if they were made they would be valued and worthwhile.

The Design Technology curriculum taught is both knowledge and skills based.  There is a clear outline for the progress of skills to be taught in each year group and each unit has specific knowledge that must be disseminated for pupils to be successful.  During most units pupils will also learned about a notable designer, engineer, chef or producer that should help to inspire ideas and spark ambition.