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Design and technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.
They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Pupils 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.
At Harris Academy Orpington students will study KS3 during years 7 to 9 as the Design and Technology team believe that a three-year curriculum best prepares students for continued engagement, enjoyment of and success in Design and Technology, before being given the option to continue studying GCSE Design and Technology at KS4.
What is the intention of the KS3 curriculum?
We currently offer two 50-minute lessons per week in KS3. KS3 students will sit termly assessments based on what they are studying three times per year – this means that students’ progress and performance is able to be monitored and tracked so that students can be clearly guided to improved outcomes and also fostering opportunities for the sharing of good practice and what works across the department.
The national curriculum for design and technology aims to ensure that all pupils:
- develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world.
- build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users.
- critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others.
When designing and making, pupils will be taught to:
- use research and exploration, such as the study of different cultures, to identify and understand user needs.
- identify and solve their own design problems and understand how to reformulate problems given to them.
- develop specifications to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that respond to needs in a variety of situations.
- use a variety of approaches [for example, biomimicry and user-centred design], to generate creative ideas and avoid stereotypical responses.
- develop and communicate design ideas using annotated sketches, detailed plans, 3-D and mathematical modelling, oral and digital presentations and computer-based tools.
- select from and use specialist tools, techniques, processes, equipment and machinery precisely, including computer-aided manufacture.
- select from and use a wider, more complex range of materials, components and parts, considering their properties.
- analyse the work of past and present professionals and others to develop and broaden their understanding.
- investigate new and emerging technologies.
- test, evaluate and refine their ideas and products against a specification, considering the views of intended users and other interested groups.
- understand developments in design and technology, its impact on individuals, society and the environment, and the responsibilities of designers, engineers and technologists.
- understand and use the properties of materials and the performance of structural elements to achieve functioning solutions
- understand how more advanced mechanical systems used in their products enable changes in movement and force
- understand how more advanced electrical and electronic systems can be powered and used in their products, for example, circuits with heat, light, sound and movement as inputs and outputs
- apply computing and use electronics to embed intelligence in products that respond to inputs, for example, sensors, and control outputs, for example, actuators, using programmable components, for example, microcontrollers.
The added intention is to ensure that students study a range of topics and projects that relate to their own experiences but are also very diverse and representative of other users. Though the content can be ambitious in terms of its scope, it is intended that projects can be adapted to suit the abilities of the range of students (see implementation, below).
How will this be implemented?
- Design and make projects are planned across each year of KS3. Each project has been designed to explore the major aspects of Design, Make, Evaluate and Technical Knowledge.
- Students will be encouraged to work both independently and collaboratively to understand principles of Design and Technology in the wider context
- Each project will focus on a particular discipline to build student confidence and knowledge. Active participation is encouraged for all students irrespective of ability.
How will you judge the impact of this curriculum?
Students sit three assessments annually which are cumulative. The assessment model, and the curriculum, are cumulative in their structure and so students are expected to know more, retain more and being able to use existing and newly acquired knowledge to engage in practical and theoretical knowledge.
The constituent parts of the assessments involve:
- Knowledge tests (completed in lessons).
- Practical outcomes – students are increasingly expected to be able to choose and use materials and tools based on their suitability for a given task.
- Extended written work when evaluating projects and products they have produced with emphasis on quality of written communication
Ultimately, teacher assessment should also be used to ensure that the curriculum is being delivered in an impactful way. Teachers should frequently reflect on whether students know more and are able to recall information and demonstrate understanding from earlier in the course as well as what they have most recently produced. They should look to ascertain whether students are becoming more comfortable with aspects of D & T and growing in confidence in articulating their initial thoughts and ideas.
The Design and Technology purpose of study in Year 7 is to give students confidence and enjoyment in a practical environment. We hope to create inquisitive, creative students who can use their imagination to explore design ideas and not to be afraid of making mistakes but have the resilience and aptitude to learn from them. This will give them a platform to build on for future years and help them to become more independent in their working methods and environment.
Term 1 for Year 7 pupils begins by completing a baseline test to assess prior knowledge of the subject. They will then learn about the Design Process to prepare them for the rest of the year. Students will learn about Health and Safety considerations before completing a practical activity using a coping saw.
In term 2 Pupils will make a toy vehicle to build up their practical skills and by using what they have learned in term 1 to work safely and with consideration for others. When complete they will study packaging by creating the graphics for a cereal box. Students will assemble the completed net and evaluate their work
In the final term, pupils undertake a design and make activity by creating a promotional clock. This shows pupils the importance of designing for others and their needs and requirements, rather than making something for themselves.
The purpose of study for Year 8 is built upon the skills students used in year 7 and develop them further with confidence and understanding to produce creative and independent work.
In term one, the focus is on following the design process through an entire project. Pupils are to research design and produce a cover for a computer game of their choice with an emphasis on originality. Pupils then peer evaluate and assess their work.
Term two moves on to learning about mechanisms. Lessons will combine theory and practical aspects. Pupils are all asked to make a mechanical toy following a production plan. This is purely a making exercise. With the knowledge gained from making, pupils are to design and model using card, a mechanical toy of their own design. Pupils are encouraged to use their imagination but be aware of how it needs to work and function.
In the final term pupils research, design, make and evaluate a piece of jewellery using pewter, for a client. Pupils learn about casting using MDF moulds and pewter and about aspects of working and using metals.
The purpose of study in Year 9 is to prepare pupils for their options at KS4. IT also builds on what they have learnt and achieved in Years 7 and 8. The projects are to develop further their skills and knowledge of a variety of techniques, tools and equipment.
Term 1 begins with pupils exploring and using a range of drawing methods to improve their communication skills, pupils then move onto modelling methods. These are essential skills for design and technology at Key Stage 4 as the ability to convey ideas and prototypes clearly will give pupils the confidence to explore original ideas and contexts.
in Term 2 pupils focus on Designers and design History. They all make a product in the Art Deco style before exploring other design styles and movements to inspire them to be creative in their own work.
Term 3 pupils learn about graphical methods of communication using paper and card. Pupils explore types and methods of packaging as well as promotional methods. This is to focus the pupils on designing for a context, a target market and a client.
In Year 10 design students start with the theory aspect of the AQA GCSE. This course is 50% exam and 50% coursework in the form of a Non-Examined Assessment (NEA). This is marked by the teacher and moderated by the exam board; however, students are unable to start the NEA until June of year 10 when the exam board publish the design contexts. To prepare for this, students will work on a mock NEA during the spring of year 10, as once students start, teacher intervention is limited to marking and collating work. Feedback is limited and generic. Completing a mock NEA, whilst covering the theory required for the written exam, gives the students a clear understanding of what is required to complete a quality piece of coursework.
In the final term, Students begin their actual NEA Coursework by exploring the design contexts and undergoing research techniques to inform their designs. Students are required to establish a real-life client for their chosen theme. Client feedback is required through every stage of the iterative design process, from initial ideas to the final outcome. Client feedback is especially essential for the testing and evaluation at the end of the project.
In Year 11 students continue with the NEA by developing ideas, modelling, planning and making a prototype before testing, evaluating and suggesting modifications. Pupils continue with theory work and sit mock exams in November and March. The mocks are used to identify individual strengths and weaknesses, this is then used to create personalised revision resources in preparation for the written exam in May/June.