Design & Technology
Our aims are to give children the skills and knowledge to design, make and evaluate products. Children will be involved in practical observation and problem solving. Health and Safety aspects will also be included as part of technology teaching. Every year, children will undertake three units of DT, of which one unit will be food technology. Children will be encouraged to design, make and try, a range of different foods. We also encourage the sharing of foods from the different cultures that reflect our school community.
At West Acton Primary School design and technology should be fully inclusive to every child. Our aims are to: fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum for design and technology, provide a broad and balanced curriculum regardless of age, gender or ability. To ensure the progressive development of knowledge and skills, to learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens through evaluation of past and present design and technology, develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world, to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world using the language of design and technology.
The intent of the DT Curriculum at West Acton is to provide plenty of opportunities for the children to learn, apply and strengthen essential skills required in the designing, making and evaluating of an effective product for a given purpose. DT is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. It encourages children to learn to think and intervene creatively to solve problems both as individuals and as members of a team.
It is also the intent of the DT Curriculum to ensure that the children are well-equipped with useful technical knowledge to support them in the design and making of their product. For example: Learning how to strengthen a structure to make it more stable, learning how to use mechanisms or electrical systems in their designs and learning how to use computer programming to control a product.
In addition, the school aims to develop the children’s use and understanding of technical vocabulary associated with this subject. This is so that the children can articulate the skills that they have applied, the equipment that they have used and describe the material/s and features of the product that they have made.
The aims of teaching design and technology in our school are:
- Develop creative, technical and imaginative thinking in children and to develop confidence to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world.
- Enable children to talk about how things work and to develop their technical knowledge,
- Apply a growing body of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make prototypes and products for a wide range of users,
- Encourage children to select appropriate tools and techniques when making a product, whilst following safe procedures,
- Develop an understanding of technological processes and products, their manufacture and their contribution to our society,
- Foster enjoyment, satisfaction and purpose in designing and making things,
- Critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products, and the work of others,
- Understand and apply the principles of nutrition and to learn how to cook,
- Understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world.
At West Acton Primary we build Cultural Capital by providing students with a means to engage with and understand the world around them and their relationship with it. Embedded in our curriculum is the exploration of the work of designers from a vast spectrum of backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and beliefs. Children learn about key figures and design work and become increasingly more familiar with those who have successfully developed creative, technical and practical expertise within design ranging from Antoni Gaudi to Ann Albers to Frank Gehry.
They will also get to experience visits to at least one local and one national gallery and museum and parents will be invited to view their child’s work through the schools own gallery.
We learn about how the world and its artefacts are represented and about the ideologies running through them. Cultural awareness is developed through creating, investigating, making and doing. This journey gives our students a voice with which to express their thoughts, feelings about and responses to the world around them.
At West Acton, we split the terms between DT and Art, with subjects alternating each half term. The time dedicated to DT ensures that each topic can be delivered to a high standard and children can create important and useful products. Resources are plentiful and allow children to be clever and creative when designing and making their products. To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in design and technology, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. DT is taught as part of a termly topic, focusing on knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. At West Acton, we ensure that design and technology is given the same importance as the core subjects, as we feel this is important in enabling all children to gain ‘real-life’ experiences.
Through a variety of creative and practical activities, we teach the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making. The children work in a range of relevant contexts (for example home, school, leisure, culture, enterprise, industry and the wider environment).
DT is taught through discrete, meaningful lessons in which, children are taught through the three phases of designing, making and evaluating their own products. Each year group focuses on 3 topics throughout the year and each topic will focus on a separate set of skills. As children progress through the school, they are presented with opportunities to develop these skills, as similar topics are revisited and built upon.
In Early Years, the children develop essential basic skills in design and technology which prepares them for their transition into Year 1. This is by the teacher creating many opportunities for the children to carry out D&T related activities across all areas of learning.
By the end of Early Years, it is expected that the children will be able to:
- Construct with a purpose in mind.
- Use simple tools and techniques competently and appropriately.
- Build and construct with a wide range of objects, selecting appropriate resources and adapting their work when necessary.
- Select the tools and techniques they need to shape, assemble and join materials they are using.
From Year 1 upwards, the children will engage in three DT units a year which will involve the children exploring, researching, designing, making, technical knowledge/skills and evaluating.
The children will explore products linked to their project. They will do this by:
- Taking the product apart and looking at the material/s used to make it,
- Looking at the different features of the product,
- Establishing how the product is constructed,
- Questioning how effective it is in its purpose,
- Discussing what could be done to improve this product,
- Producing a list of key vocabulary linked to this product.
The children will carry out research regarding the product that they are going to make so that they can use this research to support the design of their product.
Technical Knowledge / Skill
The children engage in a practical activity of practising technical knowledge or skill that they will be required to use when making their product.
- apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures,
• understand and use mechanical systems in their products,
• understand and use electrical systems in their products,
• apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products.
When designing and making, the children are taught to:
The children will draw/sketch their design and annotate this with information about their design such as, what features they have included in their design.
- use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups,
• generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design.
The children will make:
• select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks (for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing) accurately,
• select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.
The children will not only evaluate the effectiveness of their product but also the skills that they applied.
• investigate and analyse a range of existing products,
• evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work,
• understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world.
Within design and technology, we strive to prepare children to take part in the development of tomorrow’s rapidly changing world. We aim to encourage children to become creative problem-solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team. Through the study of design and technology, children combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues, as well as of functions and industrial practices. This allows them to reflect on and evaluate present and past design and technology, its uses and its impact. Our design and technology curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills and discreet vocabulary progression also form part of the units of work.
Children learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.
Each topic ends with all children creating a final product; these products are a fantastic way for children to demonstrate the skills they have learnt. Throughout the school, children are given the opportunity to consolidate their skills by creating their final product independently. Each lesson builds on the previous and children’s skills are improved upon throughout each topic. It is also clear to see the progression of skills throughout the school through the quality of products each year group creates. Subject and school leaders monitor the impact of our curriculum provision through completing regular monitoring, that includes listening to the voice of our children.
We build the Cultural Capital of our students by providing students with a means to engage with and understand the world around them and their relationship with it. Embedded in our curriculum is the exploration of the work of designers from a vast spectrum of backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and beliefs. We learn about how the world and its artefacts are represented and about the ideologies running through them. Cultural awareness is developed through creating, investigating, making and doing. This journey gives our students a voice with which to express their thoughts, feelings about and responses to the world around them.
At West Acton Primary it is essential that children are able to experience high quality Design and Technology experiences and they can answer some fundamental questions about diverse cultures and how the designs can be aesthetically pleasing. A sense of awe and wonder is developed through discovery of the processes this creates. It raises many social and moral questions. Through teaching, children have the opportunity to discuss choices we make and the effect they have on the world around us. This gives the children the opportunity to reflect on design work and creative work. This teaches children about the reasons why people are different and, by developing the children’s knowledge and understanding of the opportunities that this brings, it promotes respect for other people.
Click on the year groups below to reveal links to support classroom learning in the units covered this year: