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Chesswood Junior School

Chesswood Junior School

Design and Technology Self-Evaluation

October 2022

We believe our sequences of learning in each of the three strands offer all children a real, relevant, and engaging curriculum across the school. Units of work become increasingly more complex year after year so children can build upon prior knowledge and understanding as well as developing, refining, and learning new skills and techniques.  Although much of the learning is practical and skills based, we have thought carefully about key knowledge and associated vocabulary within each unit in order to make the whole learning process as meaningful as possible. This clarity has enabled teachers to drive the learning in its initial stages, supported by our video guides and the use of key members of staff, so they are comfortable imparting the required knowledge, as well as the skills and concepts associated with each task. In instances when staff have been unsure, leaders have been on hand to support with short term planning if needed.  

We have moved far beyond ‘the end product’ and have incorporated the best of what has been thought and said (such as instructional videos of Gordon Ramsey making a roux in Year 5, or children learning about Brunel during a residential visit to Bristol), as well as inviting experts into our lessons and exploring their associated ACRO skills (such as pizza chefs in Year 3), in order for all children to see the relevance of what they are learning.

The way practical lessons have been designed, with the teacher initially leading the learning through demonstration, the children then having the opportunity to develop practise the relevant skills before applying them in a meaningful context, means that all learners, especially those with SEND can be supported in their learning through scaffolding. In particular, ‘We Are Chefs’ has been hugely successful in providing children with SEND, and in many cases children who are experiencing significant difficulty accessing other areas of the curriculum, the opportunity to learn and develop practical skills which are of real benefit to them, and crucially experience success and produce something that is tangible. To support this process, we offer frequent cooking clubs after school (free to those children who are pupil premium) and we have just begun to give children from disadvantaged families the ingredients used at school in order that they may recreate their meals at home. 

Since implementing the curriculum, compounded by the pandemic, we are aware that specific year groups currently lack some of the skills necessary to meet our clear, long-term aims – to be able to follow a recipe, to be able to machine sew and to apply principles of construction to create a three-dimensional object. In these situations, lesson sequences have been adapted to incorporate previous year’s learning (such as children learning how to construct cams cards before going on to making 3D cams toys), or objectives have been taken from previous years (such as the current Year 6s following a stir-fry recipe instead of researching their own as part of Ready, Steady Cook). As subject leaders, we are fortunate to have teaching experience of teaching in every year across the school within the last three years. From our own experiences, and the practical experiences of colleagues delivering our curriculum, we have made some small adaptations to our medium-term plan, which we will continue to view as a working document. 

As stated, we are providing children with more and more opportunity for children to learn, develop and practise their skills, which provides teachers with an ideal opportunity to assess their development. Before cooking their meal, children in Year 5 have instructional tuition of peeling, chopping and grating vegetables for example, as well as a separate lesson on sauce making, before applying these skills to make their dish. It is this model that we want to expand across the school, supported by our certification system (currently being finalised), not only to enable children to recognise their achievements, but also enable subsequent teachers to have a better understanding of a child’s level of competence and understanding – we know not all children will be able to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding independently, and this would provide teachers and support staff with a better starting point to scaffold individual learning. We are also removing what barriers we can, such as installing an adjustable table to support children with mobility issues in the DT room for example.

With the new emphasis on knowledge and its retention right across the curriculum, we have made available the Knowledge Organisers for each unit on the school website, thus enabling families to support their child’s learning either through pre-teaching, or consolidation. Our web pages are also full of qualitative examples of the learning that children complete to enable everyone to see how a particular unit fits into a learning sequence.   By completing this process, we have been able to create quizzes, games (for knowledge and vocabulary) and assessments for many of our units and expect to have all of these completed within the year. To ensure that key learning is revisited, some year groups have begun to incorporate ‘Turbo Foundation’ time in their curriculum to support the retention of key information.  This is in addition to the more traditional topic book, which accompanies children throughout their time at Chesswood, where skills can be captured by teachers through the taking of pictures and children can demonstrate their understanding and competence through the completion of activities.

Moving forward, we are in the initial stages of the standardisation process and aim to have a clear indication of what expected and greater depth learning looks like in as many units as practical within the year.  

 

MARCH 2022

 

JULY 2021