At Leamington Community Primary school, we believe Design and Technology gives children the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of designing and making functional products. We feel it is vital to nurture creativity and innovation through design, and by exploring the designed and made world in which we all live and work.
Design and Technology is about providing opportunities for children to develop their capability. By combining their design and making skills with knowledge and understanding they learn to create quality products. Children get the opportunity to make decisions for themselves and do practical work. They create products they can see, touch – and even taste and feel proud to have done so. Design and Technology brings learning to life. It is a motivating context for discovering literacy, mathematics, science, art, PSHE and ICT.
Design and Technology education involves two important elements – learning about the designed and made world and how things work, and learning to design and make functional products for particular purposes and users. Children acquire and apply knowledge and understanding of materials and components, mechanisms and control systems, structures, existing products, quality and health and safety.
They are encouraged to be creative and innovative, and are actively encouraged to think about important issues such as sustainability and enterprise.
Children at Leamington Community Primary School undertake three design and technology projects each year. One of these projects will be food-based and the other two will be practical units that focus on designing, making and evaluating a product based on the design criteria of the unit. All units will follow the same principal format:
- Designer study
- Technical knowledge, understanding and skills development
As part of each unit, children at Leamington will undertake a designer study. They will look at the work of influential designers and study their work to gain further understanding of how products are designed to specific criteria. They will evaluate the work of designers and use their knowledge to inform their own designs. For example, as part of a unit where children where using electricity to build their own lamps, they looked at the work of the Castiglioni Brothers
Where possible Design and Technology projects are linked to the immersive curriculum that runs throughout the term. A problem is often posed as part of the immersive unit, and Design and Technology can be used to solve the problem. For example, the children from ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ are lost in Narnia and need a lamp to light the way. Can you design and make a lamp to help them get back home?
We are developing the use of technology through our DT curriculum. We use programmes such as Tinker CAD to design objects and buildings in 3D. We have also recently invested in some dedicated Art and Design IPADs equipped with all the latest design apps and Apple Pencils for better control.
We have developed a robust set of progression documents that highlight the skills, techniques and knowledge children need at different stages in their primary education. We have highlighted some skills that run across all units, such as designing, making and evaluation of their own and other’s work, while there are some skills specific to different design forms. We use knowledge of these skills to assess children during each DT session and we also assess the children’s knowledge, understanding and skills in these areas at the end of each unit and feedback to parents at the end of the year.
Enrichment and Extra-Curricular
We enrich our DT curriculum with a number of further opportunities for children to develop their skills and passion for design and technology. We always include at least one Design and Technology homework task for the children to complete each term.
Miss Fredson runs a very popular after-school Cookery Club, where the children learn to read and invent recipes, work collaboratively and develop skills for life by making delicious meals and snacks. The children also work with our school catering team to learn about the role of food and technology in the world of work.
We regularly invite professionals into school to develop the aspirations of our children. For example, professional chefs run workshops for the children. The children not only get the opportunity to work alongside a professional to produce a meal, but also to talk to them about their jobs and career.
Absolute Catering run workshops with all children to educate them about healthy food and hygiene. The children learn how to keep themselves safe using kitchen tools and also make a healthy meal such as a pizza or fruit salad.
As part of our mission to develop the children’s aspirations and future life experiences, they also have the opportunity to speak to professionals in the workplace and by attending trips and workshops outside of school. For example, Year 2 visit Pizza Express and learn how to make their own healthy pizzas. They ask the professionals questions about their role and bring back their own pizza to share with their family.
We use Compact to develop aspirations and life experiences further. Children from years 4, 5 and 6 attend workshops led by professionals. They work as a team to design, make and promote a product before pitching to the rest of the year group. They take on different roles and learn how to work collaboratively on a design project.
Subject Leader: Mrs S. Leach
Take a look:
Knowledge, Skills and Understanding
How has Covid affected the Art & Design Curriculum at Leamington Primary?
What was it like before Lockdown?
Before lockdown, teachers were delivering a broad and balanced curriculum, linked through our Narrative Immersion texts. Art and Design units were planned to meet all the requirements of each key stage and included artist and designer studies, research tasks, planning, implementation and evaluation activities. Teachers were recording the children’s work through sketchbooks, DT books and Seesaw.
What was it like during Lockdown?
During the first lockdown (March – July 2020), Art and Design were used as tools to help the children express their feelings and understand wellbeing and mental health. We did not teach the units specifically as there were so few children in school, and those at home where not set up for online learning. We set regular art challenges on Class Dojo, but not many children engaged with this.
During the second lockdown (Jan – March 2021), we continued to deliver the full primary curriculum online and to the children of key workers that were in school. We provided laptops and wifi dongles to ensure as many children as possible had access to our lessons and we filmed ourselves teaching the input to ensure the children had the same level of quality first teaching as they would have done if they were in school. Some year groups decided to move around some units of work to make online learning more accessible. For example, they may have swapped sculpture making with clay for drawing or painting, but those units will be covered during the remainder of the year.
What was it like after Lockdown?
When we returned to school in September 2020, after the first lockdown, we taught the units from the previous year group that had been missed in the first lockdown. For example, Year 4 children completed tasks from the Year 3 Summer curriculum. As these units were taught in a shorter time as a catch-up curriculum, some of the key skills and knowledge may have been missed. In subject leader monitoring, I will be looking for any skills and knowledge that may need to be covered as the children go up the school. We may use these as the focus for a specific project such as Anti-Bullying Week or we may incorporate them into other units of work.
When we returned to school in March 2021, after the second lockdown, we continued to teach the curriculum from where we had left the last online lesson.
What does the future look like?
We will continue to deliver Art and DT units through the Spring and Summer Terms of 2021 as we would have any other year. In the Summer term, I will be able to assess the true impact to Art and Design and discover if any key skills and knowledge have been missed through the catch-up curriculum. Naturally, not every child at home accessed the online Art and DT lessons provided by their teachers and unfortunately, there is no provision in place for interventions that could cover these skills. In my Summer Term review, I will highlight the key skills and knowledge that will need to be incorporated into other areas of Art and DT where possible, or into other activities, in order to make sure these skills are covered. In 2018, Jonothan Neelands delivered a speech at the second International Theatre and Drama Education Conference in Athens. He observed: “The tragedy is that the most disadvantaged children and young people are the ones that are the least likely to get access to the arts in the curriculum and extremely unlikely to get them as part of their home education. That is where the need is, but they are the ones that are under the most pressure to narrow the curriculum down to basic literacy and numeracy and therefore the arts get cut.”
However, as our curriculum uses a progression of skills, and units are repeated throughout the children’s time with us, they are exposed to some of the key skills and knowledge 3 times. For example, children undertake painting in Year 2, 3 and 6, and digital media in Year 1, 4 and 5, so even if these skills can never be caught up, it is not their only exposure to these aspects of Art and Design.
Following the success of using Art and Design as a tool to explore emotions, wellbeing and mindfulness during lockdown, we will also be incorporating into our Wellbeing Wednesdays. This is an afternoon each week where we explore different mental health topics and often use Art and Design as a way of expressing ourselves.
We are also looking forward to restarting some of our extra-curricular art activities, such as our weekly Art Club that we run with Bluecoat Art Gallery. As social distancing rules get relaxed and we are permitted to mix with the public again, we are looking forward to giving the children real Art and Design experiences such as visiting galleries, inviting artists and designers into school and having hands on experiences such as making healthy pizzas at Pizza Express.
Mrs Stephanie Leach
Art & Design Subject Leader