What’s new... and how to deal with it

Published 12th February 2014

Written by: Willy Adam

Most of us are now aware of the changes to design and technology resulting from the National Curriculum review in England, but just how well are we doing in terms of preparing for implementing these changes by September? As teachers begin to explore the new programmes of study (PoS), we have received a number of calls and emails at the Association from teachers with responsibility for leading D&T and developing their schemes of work. Quite understandably some are expressing concern and requesting help. In the first instance they need help ‘unpacking’ what is meant by some of the new requirements (which taken on their own can take some interpretation) and then how to go about introducing them.

A primary teacher who had just been given responsibility for leading D&T in the coming year, called recently, seeking advice on how to include the new aspects that appear in the KS1 and KS2 PoS. She was particularly concerned about how to apply computing to program, monitor and control products and use computer-aided design in KS2. Similar concerns exist at secondary level. In particular, teachers are asking for clarity over the requirements to use electronics to embed intelligence into products pupils design and make.

In both these cases and others we have been able to provide advice and point members to resources that will help, but we are interested to know of other aspects that may be causing concern and need supporting.

It is not just the newly introduced aspects either. Some content that featured in previous versions of the PoS has, in some schools, have never been adequately addressed or resourced. There are still some schools that have no or limited provision for teaching food technology, which with the new requirements placing emphasis on cooking and nutrition presents a challenge.

The Association has already published guidance in the freely downloadable booklet Key messages and advice and explanatory notes for schools and accompanying documents. Other resources are planned.  For primary, we will shortly be publishing a new primary scheme of work: Projects on a Page which gives practical advice and provides a tool for D&T curriculum planning. Samples for this are currently available on the website and it will be available to purchase soon.

What are the areas of the new NC that concern you? Is it Primary CAD or cooking and nutrition that keeps you awake at night or does the thought of introducing programmable components, or something completely different at KS3 dominate your thoughts? We’re here to help where we can.

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