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In Primary Schools each and every teacher may be expected to teach both Art and Design and Technology as parts of a pupil's general education, and historically two of the foundation subjects of the National Curriculum.

Teachers have for many years used a thematic approach which lends itself naturally to problem solving situations where Design and Technology tasks are part of the subject planning in a topic web structure.

Building upon this existing good practice will be the responsibility of a curriculum post holder, ensuring that these same teachers develop their confidence in delivering a Design and Technology component by increasing the range of their technical knowledge and practical skills and encouraging them to use these in their general classroom teaching whenever the need arises.

An appointment as the Design and Technology Coordinator in a Primary School might involve some of the following responsibilities, which are a mixture of professional knowledge and curriculum skills about the subject itself as well as interpersonal and social skills in dealing with others.

  • To keep up to date, examining recent documentation and literature, reporting changes back to colleagues, and collecting and disseminating information around the school.
  • To provide advice, guidance and leadership for colleagues
  • To produce and regularly update a whole school policy statement, taking note of guidance literature from DFE, NCC, SEAC, SCAA, LEA etc. and to which all school staff have made a contribution
  • To head up staff discussion groups, and actively plan to provide schemes of work that match the programmes of study and attainment targets for each age group and draw up guidelines giving continuity, progression, breadth and balance within the subject at each key stage
  • To take responsibility for estimating, ordering, maintaining and managing equipment and material resources across the school
  • To give guidance and support to all teachers, including new appointments, working alongside them in their classrooms, providing demonstrations, school based in-service
  • To report back to the head teacher and governors on progress within the school and act as external representative for the subject
  • To establish links with other primary schools in the area, and particularly those in the next key stage
  • To communicate with parents, local industry, possibly making requests for contributions in the form of material resources
  • To assist in providing guidance on assessment and recording of work, progress of pupils in developing knowledge, personal capability in the subject, safety awareness and attainment targets at each key stage


With the advent of the National Curriculum in its Post Dearing form from September 1995, Primary Schools are required to provide a written policy statement for Design and Technology which will explain to staff, parents, governors, the LEA and visiting inspectors exactly how they will develop Design and Technology capability in their pupils.

The curriculum co-ordinator will need to produce a range of important documentation showing how the school proposes to give each and every pupil Design and Technology entitlement through experiences of designing, making and testing a range of products.

A single page outline would suffice as a starting point but a more substantial document is normally required.

The policy is not meant to be rigid but under constant revision and regular updating, dependant on the expertise of the teaching staff, resources available within the school, and the needs of its pupils. As far as is reasonably practicable it should take into consideration guidance laid down by the current National Curriculum Design and Technology documentation and any additional relevant information available in preceding literature from the LEA, DFE, NCC, SEAC, SCAA, and other educational agencies.

Some major points of the Policy Statement might cover some of the following issues:-

  • A clear definition of what is meant by Design and Technology.
  • The aims and objectives for including Design and Technology in the education of young children as an area of experience and learning in terms of the development of cognitive, aesthetic, social, manipulative, and other skills in their development as discerning consumers in the next generation.
  • An explanation of what the school hopes to do to provide pupils with Design and Technology experience.
  • How this might involve all staff in discussions and the development of schemes of work, planning for progression, continuity, breadth, balance and differentiation through a range of contexts, tasks and problem-solving situations to suit reception class children through to top juniors.
  • An outline of the Technology areas that may be covered, such as communication, structures, control, systems, electricity, environments, and other subject specific experiences in Design and Technology.
  • An indication of how the cross-curricular nature of Design and Technology might be encouraged through links with Art, Science, Maths and Language in particular and how Technology might stand alone in the curriculum as a discrete or unique subject.
  • How the school will encourage the active participation in the design process, of finding a need, planning, making and testing the ideas of pupils.
  • An examination of the finance and resource implications for the school, and how a system for storing, retrieving, replacing, checking and replenishing materials and equipment could be created in individual classrooms or a central storage area.
  • Proposals for how Information Technology or computers might be provided in the school, typical equipment provision across the school, per classroom, the usage of IT, age ranges applicable for Control, Image Making, Word-processing and reporting, Databases, Graphs etc and the Software required to provide children access during Design and Technology lessons.
  • A careful examination of the themes, topics or contexts to be taught at each age range and lists of the potential Design and Technology tasks and activities that might be covered during these, providing relevance, motivation, interest and equal opportunities for each child to examine the man-made environment and other cultures.
  • How the school will consider the range of Attainment Target levels for each of these tasks using the guidelines set out in the current programmes of study for the Design and Technology component of the National Curriculum.
  • Some indication of the links that occur with Maths, Science, Art, Language and other areas of the curriculum
  • An indication of how the processes of conceptualising, manufacture and experience gradually become progressively more difficult as the children proceed through the primary phase, and to avoid constant repetition of the same processes and skills.
  • Also to show how the school will develop a process of assessment, record keeping, and progress reporting system, the values, criteria and judgements that will be made and how the school will measure Design Technology capability in individual children. Drawing ability, Verbal discussion,Communicative ability, Manufacturing skills, Functional success, Aesthetic considerations, Understanding of Ergonomics etc.
  • Some discussion of how the timetable might best be organised at each key stage for Design and Technology work so that children have a minimum entitlement of X hours each week on X Design Technology tasks or projects per term.
  • Some consideration of how the expertise, skills, knowledge and understanding of the staff can be updated and improved in Design Technology by in-service, or any other means.
  • Essentially the policy statement must consider the National Curriculum requirements but also reflect the ethos and individual nature of the school.


A Guide to Primary Technology Policy, The Look Project Cyril Gilbert
Oliver and Boyd ISBN 0 05 004178 9
Rainbow Technology, Teachers Guide. Chris Gibson
Stanley Thornes ISBN 0 7487 1121 X
Design and Technology 5 to 11 Alan Cross
Hodder and Stoughton ISBN 0 340 57707 X

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