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Design and Technology

Design and Technology is an inspiring, challenging and practical subject which prepares children to contribute to the development of our rapidly changing world. Throughout EYFS, KS1 and KS2, children are encouraged to become informed consumers, creative thinkers, problem-solvers and potential innovators. Children use creativity, imagination, experience and research to design, make and evaluate products that tackle relevant social and environmental problems for today’s society. Children will develop technical and practical expertise, through experimenting with a range of tools, materials, processes and techniques, in the areas of construction, mechanisms and food and nutrition. In addition, children are expected to build their understanding of a product’s purpose, aesthetic and function, to test out their ideas and to critique and evaluate the work of others. 
At Otford, Design and Technology is taught through a series of Construction, Mechanisms and Cooking and Nutrition units which follow a ‘Design/Make/Evaluate’ structure. Throughout KS1 and 2, all children will experience a Construction unit and, in addition, each year group explores a focus mechanism with the intention that children create and integrate the mechanism into a purposeful product of their own. To develop children’s understanding of the impact that innovators have had on our everyday lives, each year group has chosen an inspirational inventor, designer, engineer, chef or manufacturer to highlight and discover. Years 1,3 and 5 also complete a Cooking and Nutrition unit which involves growing and harvesting produce in our kitchen garden, as well as preparing food to eat. In years 2, 4 and 6, nutrition is taught alongside the relevant science topic for the year group. 
During DT sessions, children are encouraged to be inquisitive about the way products work. To deepen children’s understanding of product and product design, we encourage children to ask questions of, and test out, existing products. Children will also use market research to inform their designs and, as they move through the school, will be encouraged to draw detailed designs and make prototypes in order to refine their designs before creating their final piece. Whilst making their products, children will be introduced to a range of tools, materials and technical skills by teaching staff who will also model good practice and highlight any safety considerations. At the evaluation stage, children are encouraged to reflect upon their final products, considering how they could have altered their design or techniques to impact the overall appearance and usability of their product.
During cooking and nutrition lessons, children are taught about the provenance of food, seasonality and the importance of making healthy, balanced food choices using our very own kitchen garden. Children will also develop practical skills in food preparation, safety and hygiene: from preparing simple seasonal salads and sandwiches in Key Stage 1, to following recipes, measuring ingredients and developing their own meal ideas in Key Stage 2. 
Focus mechanisms:

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
Wheels and Axles Levers and Sliders Pneumatics Electrical Systems Cogs, cams and gears Robotics

Design and Technology learning will be recorded in a dedicated book, which children keep from reception through to year 6, which will typically evidence all three stages of the design process (design, make, evaluate). Due to the practical nature of the subject, evidence of work produced by children could be in the form of teacher’s notes or as a photographic record. 
Through building an understanding of how existing products work, of mechanisms and of construction methods, children are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to think creatively and effectively about problems facing today’s society. Collaborative work in Design and Technology is intended to foster mutual respect for the different perspectives and capabilities of peers and helps develop children’s capacity to communicate, negotiate, persuade and feedback to others.