INSET at Abbey Infant School

Published 22nd January 2024

Paul Woodward, Design & Technology Association Curriculum Consultant, recently conducted a highly informative INSET session at Abbey Infant School, focusing on essential aspects of the design and technology curriculum.


Teachers aimed to understand how prototyping fits into the design process, explore ways to check out existing products and designers, learn about coming up with ideas, and figure out how to evaluate and assess things. The bespoke training also included coverage of the health and safety implications of D&T within the primary sector.

The session aimed to reinforce the core elements of the curriculum (Design, Make, Evaluate), and tackled the best ways to share technical knowledge and design ideas. Overall, it was about making teaching better and giving students a richer learning experience.

Training Session

The morning commenced with an introductory overview of the course. Participants then delved into the Investigate session, focusing on examining existing products and key individuals. The utilisation of Investigate and Evaluate Activities (IEAs) in the D&T curriculum was explored, alongside an examination of mechanisms. Plans for primary and secondary research were strategically outlined to guide the investigative process. It was also considered how Focussed Tasks (FT's) could also be used as an element of investigation.

Training continued with an introduction to the iterative design process, followed by considerations of various ideas from a given brief. Techniques for developing simple prototypes were shared, and participants explored ideation along with a discussion on development methods. Delegates practiced simple drawing techniques in 2D and 3D before making simple paper and card models of their ideas.

The afternoon brought a practical emphasis on the making aspect of design and technology. Participants honed their attention on technical skills for shaping and forming, addressing health and safety implications, and engaging in comprehensive risk assessments. Understanding the application of technical skills as Focused Tasks was discussed, alongside a deep dive into the intricacies of prototype manufacture.

Participants explored evaluative processes that support the iterative design and gained insights into appropriate assessments. Learning to use data for future planning was emphasised, followed by an immersive experience in testing and evaluation. Discussions on various assessment methods rounded off the evaluation session.

Paul describes how he found the day, “It was a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic group of teachers all keen to improve their knowledge, confidence and skills in the teaching of Design Technology.

This INSET session was a first in terms of the way we worked through a whole design, make and evaluate assignment (DMEA) with practical elements and the understanding of how this can fit into curriculum plans while meeting, and exceeding the needs of the national curriculum.

The outcomes were creative, bizarre but fantastic, and delegates evaluated their outcomes as they might with their students before considering how they might assess and monitor students work to ensure they were engaged and that positive progress was being made. A very enjoyable day for delegates and the trainer!”

Attendee Santosh Kauldhar commented, “I came away with so much more information on D&T, which was very useful for me to further develop in the subject that I will am now leading for the first time "

The day's activities were summarised, providing a comprehensive review of the key insights gained throughout the sessions. The participants were then offered the opportunity for a Q&A session. The practical insights shared by Paul during the day have equipped teachers with valuable tools and knowledge, enhancing the design and technology learning experience at Abbey Infant School.

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