Following the updated Ofsted inspection framework (Ofsted, May 2019), schools were instructed to place Curriculum ‘Intent, Implementation and Impact’ at the heart of their curriculum design (within the new, reformed ‘Quality of Education’ measure).
At Iford and Kingston CE Primary School, we have constructed ‘a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners...the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life [while ensuring] teaching is designed to help learners to remember in the long term the content they have been taught and to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts’ (Ofsted, May 2019, pg. 9 and 10).
To achieve this, we have used a Discover, Explore and Create curriculum model, which sees all learners at Iford and Kingston CE Primary School critically analysing in History, Geography, DT and the Arts across the academic year. These Discover (History), Explore (Geography and DT) and Create (the Arts) projects form the backbone of our projects across the year.
Our intent for the Design and Technology curriculum is that children will have a clear understanding of the complete DT process from analysing existing products to designing, making and evaluating their own. Each unit will have a clear, real-life purpose with an increasing focus on sustainability and adaptability.
Every term, all pupils learn through our whole school Discover, Explore and Create projects. This approach provides a deeper understanding and supports of the embedding of the learning.
In the Spring Terms 3 and 4 our focus is the Explore part of our curriculum which provides an opportunity for a focus on Design and Technology. Their project allows the children to undertake the full DT process.
Analysing existing products
In this initial stage, all children will look at existing products on the market and consider their appeal and purpose.
This aspect of the process is where all children will have the opportunity to design their own product. This will range from designing a product with a given specification in EYFS to creating their own specification and design in Year 6.
Children learn to use a variety of tools, techniques and materials to bring their designs to life, adapting these as necessary. This work includes consideration of risk and hygiene to ensure children can work independently and achieve their goal safely.
A core part of the design and creation process is evaluation. Children are given opportunities and the language to evaluate products by looking at their effectiveness against the specification, testing them and suggesting ways they could be improved.
By teaching DT through the Explore project, the children are able to hone in on the skills required to undertake a successful DT unit which they build on as they journey through the school. By ensuring that each unit is purposeful, the children can see the importance and real-life uses of DT.
Pupil quotes show how this broad and creative curriculum has engaged them:
A Reception pupil, following a forest school fence building activity, stated:
‘I love hammering and making things, this is my best day ever!’
A Year 6 pupil particularly valued the connection with everyday life and being given autonomy over many of the choices they make.
‘I really like making 3D structures, I can make my own decisions. I like working outside and making things every day!’