At St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Voluntary Academy, the intent of the Design and Technology curriculum is to prepare children to take part in the development of tomorrow's rapidly changing world: for them to have a greater understanding of real-life applications, with emphasis on the roles that inventors, designers, engineers, manufacturers and chefs have in shaping our lives. By teaching Design and Technology, we are informing our children about social and environmental issues - they may well become potential innovators in the future.
We aim for children to have acquired the essential characteristics of designers/engineers:
Curriculum Drivers shape our curriculum breadth in Design Technology. They are derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our students, our beliefs about high quality education and our values. They are used to ensure we give our students appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities. Our curriculum drivers are community, spirituality, culture, democracy and possibilities.
Cultural capital gives our students the vital background knowledge required to be informed and thoughtful members of our community who understand and believe in British values.
Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital, subject topics and our ambition for students to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.
Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and ‘Curriculum Themes’. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied.
Curriculum Themes tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, students return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build understanding of them. In Design and Technology, these curriculum themes are: Take inspiration from design throughout history (Appreciating the design process that has influenced the products we use in everyday life); Design, make, evaluate and improve (Thinking and seeing design as a process); Master practical skills (Developing the skills needed to make high quality products).
Golden Threads: These categories help students to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema. In Design and Technology, these Golden Threads include: Mechanisms and Mechanical Systems, Electrical Systems, Materials and Techniques, Construction, Cooking and Nutrition, Textiles, Programming and Electronics.
Cognitive science tell us that working memory is limited and that cognitive load is too high if students are rushed through content. This limits the acquisition of long-term memory. Cognitive science also tells us that in order for students to become creative thinkers, or have a greater depth of understanding they must first master the basics, which takes time.
Milestones: For each of the curriculum themes, three Milestones, each of which includes the procedural and ‘Golden Threads’ in each subject give students a way of expressing their understanding of the curriculum themes. Milestone 1 is to taught across Years 1 and 2, milestone 2 is taught across Year 3 and 4 and milestone 3 is taught across Year 5 and Year 6.
Cognitive Domains: Within each Milestone, students gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. The goal for students is to display sustained mastery at the ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the end of each milestone and for the most able to have a greater depth of understanding at the ‘deep’ stage.