Getting Your School’s Support for Curriculum Change

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Return to the D&T Curriculum Planning page to see other resources & information

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Support for the curriculum changes at KS3, GCSE and A level

It is difficult to give a conclusive list on how a school can support a D&T department as each department is very different. The list below might help your department outline examples of the type of support that might be useful. 

  • It's important schools recognise the extent of the changes to the D&T curriculum over recent years. Since 2014 there have been changes at KS3, a new style Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE, a new style D&T GCSE (with significant changes in approach), and new AS and A level specifications. The significance of these changes should not be underestimated, particularly as some qualifications in particular are very different to the legacy ones. The impact of the pandemic on these changes should also not be underestimated as this came at a time when departments were only just beginning to get used to the changes and were still in the early stages of developing their curriculum. 
  • It's vital departments get time together to plan and review their curriculum. The changes are very significant and it will not be possible to carry them out effectively without time for joint planning meetings. The amount of upskilling some departments will require for some of the changes should not be underestimated. In addition material areas departments that have previously worked independently will need to coordinate as a team much more than in the past.
  • The recommendation is that departments use a five (or seven with A level) year model with KS3 giving a strong grounding to KS4 and 5. In particular it is recommended that much of the broader materials content at KS4 is taught at KS3. This means a department will need to review what they do at KS3 and for some departments this might mean significant changes are required. 
  • A strong KS3 is seen as being essential to a successful KS4 (and KS5) and indeed the GCSE has been designed to build on KS3 learning. There is, therefore, an expectation that students will experience D&T curriculum time in all year groups at KS3 and students may be disadvantaged if this is not the case. 
  • Students should also experience the full range of materials at KS3 in order to develop the broader materials understanding that is the basis of the D&T GCSE. It’s important to note that the broader materials approach doesn’t mean that focusing on specialist materials is any less important. Teaching time allocation at KS3 should reflect this, ideally with students experiencing working with all materials in D&T in years 7, 8 and 9. 
  • For some staff the changes, especially at KS3 and KS4, are very significant and potentially require considerable CPD or other support. New staff entering the profession will also require support as most are unlikely to have the breadth of knowledge the curriculum requires. The degree of change for some staff is likely to be stressful and a challenge to take on board. External CPD will play an important part in this development but just as important will be the internal support across a department, both on a day to day basis as well as in formal meetings, so time allocated for departmental meetings and training is vital.  
  • The broader focus of the curriculum means that sometimes teachers will be delivering content outside of their specialism. Teams will need time to develop resources that support non specialists as well as time to support their initial delivery. 
  • In the longer term departments will need to consider how they might reconfigure rooms and equipment to allow for a broader material approach where students are more able to use equipment and materials that is most relevant to their design ideas. 
  • Rules for the Non Exam Assessment are very strict and may not be compatible with whole school monitoring systems. Departments will need to identify what whole school monitoring systems will work within the NEA rules, for example teachers aren't allowed to grade work, use model answers and can only give general feedback. 
  • Students can’t start their NEA until 1st June in year 10 and, as this assessment is significant, and is likely to take many months, this will need to be taken into account in the school timetable. Any loss of lesson or other time is likely to have a significant impact on what students can achieve. 
  • Marking and moderation procedures will need to be developed and in particular it would be beneficial for time to be made for teachers to work with other schools when moderating. 
  • Maths and science are formally tested as part of the GCSE and A level exams and this learning has to be explicitly built into the curriculum. Time will be needed for D&T to work with the maths department in particular to ensure the maths learning is delivered in a way that compliments the work of the maths department. D&T teachers are also likely to require some upskilling in this area as although maths has always been a part of D&T it has never been formally tested in the past and teachers won’t be familiar with how this is assessed. 
  • D&T is both a STEM and arts subject and plays an important role in supporting a balanced curriculum. Time should be given for D&T to coordinate with other STEM and arts subjects. CPD should also take into account both of these aspects of D&T.  


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Providing evidence for the benefits of attending CPD

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Professional development support for D&T staff is a high priority especially as the nature of the subject means that innovation and change is happening all the time. This could be in the form of external courses, but internal departmental time and support is just as important. Below are documents that you can use to provide evidence for the benefits of attending CPD:


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What are the benefits of coming on one of our courses?

If you are looking for external CPD take a look at this list of benefits of attending CPD we run rather than those of other providers. 


Return to the D&T Curriculum Planning page to see other resources & information

Find a course to support your D&T curriculum


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