The Design and Technology curriculum at Rathfern links with Rathfern’s broader curriculum aims, in terms of giving children the powerful cultural and social capital they need to understand the world and shape the future through the promotion of Sustainable Development.
The study of D&T is essential in order for children to begin to understand and question the impact of technologies and products on people and the environment. The D&T curriculum at Rathfern is underpinned by the school’s Right Respecting and Global Learning frameworks, with the aim of developing ‘ecologically literate’ designers. Each unit of learning is linked to one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Throughout the design process and during everyday conversations, the vocabulary of sustainability is promoted:
- Reduce (how could we reduce the resources we are using?)
- Reuse (how could this material be reused?)
- Recycle (is this material biodegradable?)
- Repair (do I have the skills to repair this?)
- Rethink (are we making too many products? How can my design consider the needs and impact on people and the environment?)
- Refuse (should I use a material or create this product if is not genuinely needed, or if it is bad for the environment?)
A skills progression framework ensures that each year group progressively builds upon their competences as they move up the school, so that by the time they reach Year 6, children are capable of more complex projects.
D&T is a ‘hands on’ area of learning, through which metacognition, practical skills (e.g. using tools and equipment) and technical knowledge (e.g. using electrical systems) are developed. Through engaging and open-ended starting points for learning, children will come up with multiple ideas and approaches, resulting in their ideas being realised in 3 dimensions, either as small-scale models, toys or full-scale projects. Children develop an ability to make judgements and critique different ideas as well as beginning to identify unintended consequences of their projects e.g. for the environment. D&T is an excellent vehicle for collaborative learning and shows children that ideas and constructions are often better realised when undertaken in partnership with others. Within this they will appreciate the need to adapt designs and constructions as they go along and share their work for critical appraisal and celebration.
D&T learning is a powerful tool for challenging gender stereotypes, with all children experiencing a range of contexts for learning, including cooking and nutrition, using tools, working with textiles, and exploring mechanical and electrical systems. D&T enables children to develop an understanding of significant global design achievements. This cultural capital is augmented through looking at existing design products and where relevant, through visits to regional institutions such as the V&A, The Design Museum and The Fashion and Textile Museum.
Local links are developed with business and industry. Children benefit from understanding a real-life context for their D&T learning and having access to the world of work. This process also enables teachers to develop their subject knowledge and expertise, and to access a rich broad range of learning resources. Moreover, the school’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals puts us in a unique position to influence local industry attitudes to design education and sustainability.
All D&T learning is underpinned by opportunities for communication and language development. D&T also provides multiple cross-curricular learning opportunities. Teachers capitalise on significant cross-curricular opportunities by planning for D&T projects to take place during a term where related learning e.g. in science, maths, Humanities or computing, occurs. Due to the nature of design and constant technological change, the D&T curriculum is dynamic and must develop in the light of these changes.