Design Technology at Hillmorton Primary School
At Hillmorton Primary School we aim to build and deliver a high-quality Design and Technology curriculum, in order to encourage enjoyment and satisfaction in both designing and making products, and learning to cook. Many of the topics in our creative curriculum allow for the inclusion of design and technology, giving children the opportunity to develop their technical and imaginative thinking. These skills are used in a range of relevant contexts to design, make, and evaluate a range of products. Children will also understand how to apply the principles of nutrition in order to maintain a healthy and varied diet, and will learn how to cook independently as they progress.
In our Design and Technology curriculum, we distinguish between subject topics and threshold concepts. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied, such as the use of electrical systems in products. These result in children meeting specific milestones as they progress through the curriculum. Threshold concepts are the ‘big ideas’ which tie together the subject topics into a meaningful schema, as these same concepts are explored throughout the school.
The key threshold concepts we aim to develop are:
Master practical skills:
- To develop the skills needed to make high quality products.
- Design, make, evaluate, and improve:
- To develop the process of design thinking.
- To see design as a process.
- Take inspiration from design throughout history:
- To appreciate the design process that has influenced the products we use in everyday life.
We return to these threshold concepts throughout a child’s journey in our school, each time building on their prior knowledge, extending their confidence and improving their understanding. The teaching of Design and Technology here at Hillmorton is rooted in the development of these key concepts.
Design and Technology introduces children to ways of thinking and practical skills that they may not experience outside of their school environment, as they learn to combine both imagination and functionality in order to solve problems and create products, enhancing their cultural capital. This gives children the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of the community who understand and believe in the British values.
- Design and Technology is taught as part of our creative curriculum from Reception to Year 6, contributing to half-termly themes.
- ‘WOW’ days are used across all year groups to introduce topics, and bring the learning to life.
- Carefully selected trips and visits allow children to immerse themselves in their learning.
- Children study a range of skills that will allow them to develop their creative and practical thinking abilities, in order to engage in the process of designing and making. This knowledge is applied to relevant contexts within both the current topic and the school environment. The content of Design and Technology is subject specific, however cross-curricular links are made so that projects are meaningful and build on children’s knowledge in other subjects.
- In order to plan for repetition and building of prior knowledge, teachers are expected to know what has been taught previously as well as having a secure understanding of what needs to be taught.
To measure impact, we assess the children’s understanding of the underpinning Design and Technology threshold concepts. Their ability to apply these to their learning allows them to access the curriculum with increasing confidence, and demonstrate specific skills and areas of knowledge.
Thoughtful planning of progression throughout the Design and Technology curriculum enables children to develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world. All children will leave Hillmorton equipped with a variety of skills required to prepare and cook a meal, as well as understanding the importance of a healthy and varied diet. Children will be able to apply their knowledge, understanding, and skills to design and make products of increasing quality, and will develop the ability to evaluate and improve their products.
Assessment for learning is continuous throughout the planning, teaching, and learning cycle. It is supported by use of the following strategies:
- Observing children when working individually, in a pair, in a group, and in the whole class context during teaching.
- Through pupil voice, where children are given the opportunity to talk about the Design and Technology skills and knowledge they have gained. This may be supported by the use of differentiated, open-ended questions that require children to explain and unpick their understanding.
- Providing effective feedback to children, including interactive marking where appropriate, and verbal feedback. This engages children with their learning and provides opportunities for self-assessment, consolidation, depth and target setting.
- Book moderation and the monitoring of work outcomes, in order to evaluate the range and balance of work and to ensure that tasks meet the needs of different learners (with the acquisition of the pre-identified key knowledge and key skill development of each topic being evidenced through the outcomes). We also compare work from different year groups and key stages to ensure the threshold concepts are being built upon each year and children have regular opportunities to recall learning from previous topics.