Design and Technology prepares children to take part in the development of today’s rapidly changing world. Creative thinking encourages children to make positive changes to their quality of life. The subject encourages children to become autonomous and creative problem-solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team. It enables them to identify needs and opportunities and to respond by developing ideas and eventually making products and systems. Through the study of design and technology they combine practical skills with an understanding of aesthetic, social and environmental issues, as well as functions and industrial practices. This allows them to reflect on and evaluate present and past design and technology, its uses and its impacts. Design and technology helps all children to become discriminating and informed consumers and potential innovators. We live in a technological age, surrounded by artefacts and systems which have been produced, designed and made for us by other humans working together in a complex range of activities.
At Whittlefield we follow the ‘Design, Make, Evaluate’ approach to the teaching of DT, as outlined in the National Curriculum Programmes of Study document. The technical skills which we teach encompass the following areas: Construction, Mechanisms, Textiles and Food and Nutrition. We feel that the teaching of Food and Nutrition is a great importance and holds great relevance in current times. For this reason, children will study a Food and Nutrition unit every year. Additionally, a Construction unit will be covered, along with either a Mechanisms or Textiles unit. This ensures that the technical skills are covered with greater depth, and that – by the end of each key stage – children will have reached the expectations of the National Curriculum. If teachers wish to complete extra units to develop skills in an area that has not been assigned to their year group, they are encouraged to do so.
During 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 will use market research to inform their designs and, as they move up through the school, will be encouraged to draw detailed designs and make prototypes in order to refine their designs before creating their final piece. Whilst making their products, staff will guide them through the technical skills they will require, modelling good practice and highlighting safety considerations with the children. Through the evaluation stage of our ‘Plan, Make, Evaluate’ approach, 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.