Design and Technology at Beech Hill School is taught purposefully in all year groups to allow children to safely develop their skills, work independently or in teams and become creative problem-solvers & makers. Our DT curriculum gives children the opportunity to design and make ‘something‘ for ‘somebody‘ for ‘some purpose‘.
We teach design and technology during specific focus weeks twice a year linked to the national curriculum objectives and our progression of skills for individual year groups. Within our DT projects we set the scene with a design brief that is relevant and gives the children a purposeful context. Children are then given the opportunity to look at and evaluate existing products and designs, considering designs from the past, and deciding on how to improve them. Taking into account the design brief and aspects learnt from existing designs, children create their own initial designs, evaluate them and then pull ideas together for final designs. Within this, children may test different materials, create prototypes or use computer-aided software in their designs. Children are then taught a range of useful practical skills and apply these skills in making their final product as per their own designs. When the product is complete children with evaluate against the design brief, and also share with peers and people linked with the brief. (See image below for how this process flows through)
For the half terms without a DT week, we have a stand-alone ‘MasterChef’ day to cover the Cooking and Nutrition part of the Curriculum. This is a new initiate for us during 2020-21 and allows for development of practical skills and creating a dish; whilst also looking at Food Safety & Hygiene, Healthy Eating and wider consumer knowledge & understanding of where our food comes from. Learning how to cook provides children with a crucial life skill and allows development of some of our core principles as a school, of independence and basic skills.
(See image below for how the MasterChef days are sequenced)
Our DT curriculum for years 1 – 6 is based on the National Curriculum as defined by the Department for Education. The DT curriculum is underpinned by providing our children with wider opportunities, independent learning and basic skills.
We offer opportunities to focus on the development of the key technical areas of the DT curriculum – textiles, structures, mechanics & mechanical systems and for KS2 electrical systems. The structure of the DT weeks are detailed above. The way our DT curriculum is structured allow these technical aspects of the curriculum to be revisited and build on throughout the key stages (Key Stage 1, Lower Key Stage 2 and Upper Key Stage 2). Where appropriate, the DT project has a topical link to that half term’s Curriculum focus. For example, Year 6 creating model Anderson shelters linked with their WW2 Topic; Year 4 making a Carnival headdress within their Brazil Topic; Year 2 making a buggy-cart for the Park keeper during their Parks topic.
Our newly structured MasterChef days allow for full coverage of the Cooking and Nutrition parts of the DT National Curriculum. As part of their work with food, the practical dishes and skills learnt link with the focus Curriculum Topic area where possible – for example Greek salad for Year 5s within their Ancient Greece Topic or baking soda-bread rolls for Year 2s within their Great Fire of London Topic. This, and the other Topic link sessions allow a wider, enriched understanding of the main Topic, outside of the focus History or Geography objectives, whilst also instilling a love of cooking and knowledge of how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Our Summer 1 MasterChef days allow for a Celebration of Beech Hill through food – throughout the year groups we focus on some of the traditional foods from some of the main cultural groups that make up our school. We look at South Asian, Eastern European and British foods – how to make them, what they taste like, where they come from and the similarities between them! (The Cookery & Nutrition curriculum has its own specific skills progression, which includes Reception, allowing the introduction of these skills at an early stage and the smooth progression into Year 1.)
Why? These projects and themes have been established to ensure that knowledge and understanding is sequenced, relevant and can support children in building upon prior learning. The unit is planned in a way so that key skills are recapped and revisited to encourage retention. Lessons are then planned against a progressive set of practical skills taken from our in-house progression of skills document. We regularly have opportunities to link our English and Maths to our DT projects – for example maths measurement skills, wider understanding of a historical context through design, or with opportunities to reinforce basic English and Maths skills. Teaching DT in this way supports the learning in other subjects to give a contextual understanding as well as supporting retention.
In early years, DT is taught under the area of Understanding the World.
DT Must Knows
Below are a selection of the Must Knows that we provide for each year group, for the
Cookery & Nutrition aspect of DT (covered in our MasterChef days). These Must Knows are designed to be used at home by parents as part of homework and revision, in school to supplement work in lessons and to recap previous learning. These are carefully structured so that knowledge and vocabulary are sequenced and built upon over time. We are confident that these Must Knows will help our children to develop and retain key knowledge on a wide range of topics and will significantly improve their vocabulary.
‘It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’
Ofsted School Inspection Handbook 2019
Cultural Capital at Beech Hill is something we are passionate about throughout all subjects. DT is a subject that lends itself extremely well to developing cultural capital. We are excited about delivering knowledge and making educated citizens who learn from the events, people, ideas we study.
Children are able to apply their knowledge and practical skills to a more ‘concrete’ experience and bring their learning to life through the practical projects and activities that we provide. The different technical aspects of our DT curriculum allow the development of many basic skills which are useful for children in their ongoing lives – such as use of hammers, saws and other tools, sewing, cookery, and electrical systems.
Where appropriate, we learn about different influential individuals in STEM who link with our DT projects and themes. When possible, these are local to widen the children’s understanding of individuals linked with our local area.
Our wonderful DT books
DT work, from our focused project weeks, is recorded in a class book that follows children throughout their time at Beech Hill. It details the different aspects of their DT projects and showing the progress of skills in different areas of DT.
Our brilliant DT in action:
Year 4 – Tabbouleh Salad (Ancient Egypt topic link)
Year 5 – Greek Salad and flatbread (Ancient Greece topic link)