Because "we all come together to learn", there is a strong universal element to our curriculum: we give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
Our students are the problem-solvers of the future – the designers, the engineers, the nutritionists, the makers. We will stoke a passion for design, engineering and their environment, so our students have the confidence to tackle any such problem, and revel in the creativity they thus release.
Whilst our priority is the development of the learner (people are more important than things), our subject is also about the development of material. Designing, making, and using products is one of the biggest parts of human existence. Through our contribution to the overall curriculum, our students will become discriminating, informed and innovating product-users, autonomous and creative problem-solvers, individually and in teams.
The design process is therefore a key element of our curriculum in Key Stage 3. We teach technical knowledge (eg of CAD/CAM, of materials and of manufacturing systems) to deepen students' appreciation of the design process. We regularly revisit and deepen students' understanding of key ideas a spiral curriculum (delivered in a carousel), which is embedded into a series of progressively more challenging projects.
We offer two pathways post-14. GCSEs and an 'A'-level focus further on the design process, coupled with a practical element where we nurture each student's expression of their creativity. Technical knowledge is included to facilitate these elements. Alternatively, a BTEC pathway (at Key Stage 4 and 5) focuses on Engineering – its sectors and products, and the mathematical/scientific principles that underpin Engineering endeavours.
Frequent, low-stakes assessment is a key feature of our curriculum. Whilst end-of-project summative feedback is important, lesson-by-lesson formative feedback is crucial in ensuring students progress as the creative problem-solvers of the future and as passionate advocates for design.
We believe strongly in producing, and sharing, our own resources, particularly at Key Stage 3. As an experienced team, over the years we have carefully developed and refined our own project ideas to fit, as closely as we can, our curriculum intent as stated above.
Our extra-curricular offer is a vital element of our work to stoke students' passion for Design Technology, so we offer a number of clubs/trips etc.
Whilst we naturally strive for all our students to achieve the best possible examination results – as this is the surest way for them to progress to further study and careers in this subject area – we also deeply value students' enjoyment and enthusiasm for our subject. This will partly be evident from the numbers choosing the subject through the options systems, but student surveys, their effort grades, and extra-curricular commitment are also strong sources of evidence through which we can judge the extent to which we have met our stated intent.
Author: G Richards