Design and Technology
At Burrington Church of England Primary, we are designers!"
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." -- Steve Jobs, co-founder Apple, Inc.
Design and technology is an important part of the curriculum at Burrington Primary. It inspires creativity and invention through exploring the designed and made world in which we live, as well as enabling practical hands-on experience of the design, make and evaluation process. Children are given opportunities to explore different ideas, to solve problems and to take risks, developing their ingenuity and enterprise. Mistakes are seen as a learning opportunity.
Enjoy failure and learn from it. You can never learn from success. James Dyson
Our DT curriculum gives children the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of designing and making functional products which include structures, mechanisms, electrical control and a range of materials, including food.
D&T has strong links with other subject areas including maths, engineering, computing, science and art. We recognise the significant part high-quality design and technology education makes to creativity, culture, wealth and well-being. Great design has an historical significance and its important legacy can be seen in the development of significant historic structures in our local area such as Clifton Suspension Bridge or the scissor arch at Wells Cathedral.
In line with the National Curriculum, it is our intent that children at Burrington will:
- develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world
- deepen understanding of the journey of design, making, evaluating and modifying.
- build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products, using a range of tools and techniques, solving real and relevant problems, for a wide range of users
- critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others against informed criteria
- evaluate past and present design and technology to develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world, including social and environmental consequences, making links with the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, where possible.
- work in a range of contexts (such as inside, outside, environment, industry …), considering their own ideas, values and needs as well as that of others.
- understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook, with increased understanding of seasonality and healthy eating.
As a member of the Design and Technology Association (DATA), our scheme of work is drawn from ‘Projects on a Page’ scheme which enables us flexibility to tailor the learning to be relevant to a topic we are covering in another subject thus reinforcing real and relevant links, or respond to an event within the local or national community. The project plan carefully supports the 20 point iterative process of progression through the research, design, make, evaluate and refine process.
In undertaking projects, the children will experiemce six areas of good Design and Technology practice:
- 1) User –who they are designing and making products for
- 2) Purpose –what the products they design and make are for.
- 3) Functionality –design and make products that function in some way to be successful. Products often combine aesthetic qualities with functional characteristics. We recognise that in D&T, it is insufficient for children to design and make products which are purely aesthetic.
- 4) Design Decisions –opportunities to make informed decisions such as selecting materials, components and techniques…
- 5) Innovation –scope to be original and innovative with their thinking.
- 6) Authenticity –make products that are believable, real and meaningful to themselves i.e. not replicas or reproductions or models
In addition to our ‘Projects on a Page’ scheme, we take part in an annual STEM week challenge, led by our science leader, when children across the school undertake a topical science-related design and technology task, which we link to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and raise an awareness of a ‘problem’. The children compete in cross age teams to meet a design brief, and take part in a competition, with most successful designs being able to compete at a regional level with their products. Topics have included designing a recyclable plastic bird with magnetic feet to attract metal waste fish, considering the plight of hedgehogs killed on the roads or creating a structure to resemble a rainforest and its protective canopy.
Competitions and Extra-curricular Opportunities
Other external D&T competitions enjoyed by pupils have included the Young Rotary Chef competition, with success by a Burrington pupil in recent years. Children also are given opportunity to take part in Design and Technology-related clubs at school. Recent examples include engineering club, cushion club and 3D pen club.
We have enhanced our teaching of Design and Technology by accessing opportunities in the local area and beyond: Examples from recent times have included Birch visiting Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain and Maple Class considering some of the innovative architectural designs in their trip to London.
Food technology and Farm Link
For food technology, we are fortunate to have access to a child’s kitchen in the ‘Sky room’ at school, a catering kitchen in the village hall and an educational kitchen in the local Farm Link kitchen, all of which can be used by the school for food DT activities. Our own produce is grown through forest school activities, which reinforces the concept of seasonality. We have a close association with Farm Link which provides visitors and online materials for school to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of the journey of food and nutrition. This complements our own strong agricultural links within our local school community; KS2 take part in a regional Agricultural day bi-annually.
Farmer Nick with Cherry Class at Lower Stock Farm
Through our membership of the Design and Technology Association, we have access to a high quality and varied Design and Technology CPD for staff to improve our skills and deepen our understanding. Each ‘Project on a Page’ contains useful guidance and training information for staff.
Our Scheme of Work
We aim to teach one ‘Project’ per term on a two year rolling cycle. Classes are encouraged to include an additional food technology element so that it is covered each year, even if it is a reduced project. The progression of learning of skills and knowledge develops between KS1, lower KS2 and Upper KS2. The units for each class can be undertaken in any order and staff are encouraged to make links with other curriculum areas where possible to root the design challenge or ‘problem’ in a real context. Following the guidance of the Design and Technology Association for each project, children will engage in three elements for each project based on the themes in the table below:
1) Investigative and evaluative activities
2) Focused tasks
3) Design, Make and Evaluate assignment
(1 year cycle)
Hygiene, safety & continuous provision
Preparing food & continuous provision
Buttons, Zips and Tools & continuous provision
(1 year cycle)
Cutting, joining and hinges
& continuous provision
Recycling & continuous provision
Preparing food & continuous provision
Food- Preparing Fruit and Vegetables
Mechanisms- Sliders and Levers
Textiles- Templates and Joining Techniques
· Food- Preparing Fruit and Vegetables
Mechanisms – wheels and axles
· Structures- Freestanding Structures
· Food - healthy and varied diet (minor)
· Textiles- 2-D Shape to 3-D Product
· Food- Healthy and Varied Diet
Levers and Linkages
· Electrical Systems- Simple Programming and Control/ Simple Circuits and Switches.
· Structures- Shell Structures/ Shell Structures Using Computer Aided Design
· Textiles- Combining Different Fabric Shapes/Using Computer Aided Design in Textiles
Structures- Frame Structures
Mechanical systems - Pulleys or Gears
Food – celebrating culture and seasonality (minor)
· Food- Celebrating Culture and Seasonality
Electrical Systems- More Complex Switches and Circuits/Monitoring and Control
· Mechanical systems - Cams
Assessment occurs throughout the process through discussions, questioning, observation, review of written or photographic evidence, to enhance feedback and thus improve children’s learning and development. Staff are supported to formatively assess based on the ‘Key Learning’ guidance within each Project Plan. Assessment (working at, below or above age-related expectations) in DT is included in the child’s annual report to parents.
DT in Nursery and Reception
From a child’s first experiences in the nursery and Reception we build the blocks of Design and Technology which will be the foundation for Key Stage 1 and beyond, giving children opportunities to experience aspects of the design, make, evaluate and modify cycle and to develop technical vocabulary.
The Early Learning Goals set out what children should know, understand and be able to do by the end of Reception. The ELG for Expressive Art and Design incorporates important early aspects of DT, and children will experience teaching and learning which enables them to safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. The main focus is on continuous provision allowing us to be more responsive and encouraging of children in relation to their interests.
Children share their creations, explaining the process they have used. The EYFS also provides for children to engage with experiences and activities which enable them to make use of props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories, using the products they have created for a purpose.
Design and Technology also weaves through all areas of the EYFS so that children will experience:
- Cutting Skills- e.g. using scissors to cut paper, knives to cut soft fruit.
- Joining Skills- e.g. using glue/tape/staples/hole punch and string to join a variety of materials.
- Creating flaps- e.g. folding paper and card
- Explore and use varied materials to assemble a variety of imaginative and inventive creations.
- Explore construction activities using kits or other materials (such as recycled materials)
- Learning about health and hygiene, including safe food handling and preparation
- Exploring the language associated with Early design and technology
These are all key early aspects of D&T which children will experience in the Early Years and will prepare them for the curriculum content in KS1 and 2.
At Burrington, we are committed to equality of opportunity regardless of race, cultural background, ability or any physical or sensory disability. As such, we teach Design and Technology to all children, whatever their ability and planning takes into account the special individual needs of children where necessary.
The impact of our curriculum will be evident in oral and written feedback from children, photographs of their products, their enthusiasm for the subject reflected in participation and success in extra curricular opportunities and/ or choices for GCSEs and beyond.
We want all children to be able to recognise the importance of great design in all our lives; children will be able to recognise design features, good and bad, and articulate the depth of their understanding of how design throughout history to the present day and beyond, has served to solve problems, from the tools to aid irrigation in ancient Egypt to the mechanism enabling their bikes to work for bikability. Children will be able to use vocabulary with confidence. They will be able to apply the iterative process of Design in their work and will be willing to take risks and refine their work to improve and develop.
In their STEM projects we see the children applying the process of DT in their work with imagination, creativity and ingenuity, and willing to take risks, recognising the learning potential of mistakes and producing credible products which have achieved notable success in the previous regional competitions.
Children have a greater awareness of the importance of healthy nutrition and are able to prepare a number of dishes, using tools and techniques skillfully and safely. They will be aware of the journey of food from farm to plate, mindful of the impact of fair trade,