Getting Your School’s Support for the Curriculum Changes


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

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 with the changes in D&T as each department is very different. The list below might help your department outline the extent of the changes to SLT along with examples of the type of support that might be useful. Whilst budgets in many schools are limited there may be things that schools can do to help lighten the load simply by understanding the bigger picture better.

  • It's important schools recognise the extent of the changes with KS3 changing in 2014, a new style Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE in 2016, a new style D&T GCSE in 2017 (with significant changes in approach), and new AS and A level specifications also in 2017. These qualifications will take a number of years to bed in so support need to be ongoing for a number of years, particularly given the extent of the changes and the number of changes happening at once.
  • It will be vital that departments are able to get time together over the next few years to plan and review. The changes are very significant and it will not be possible to carry them out effectively without time for joint planning meetings. In particular, as students have to study all material areas departments will need to coordinate as a team 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 time to review what they do against the 2014 curriculum as well as time to put appropriate changes in place. 
  • 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. Teaching time allocation at KS3 should therefore reflect this, ideally with students have an inclusive material experience 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. The degree of change for some staff is also 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 will be 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.
  • In the longer term departments will also need to review the type of equipment that is available to students to allow for a broader material approach. 
  • Rules for the Non Exam Assessment are very strict and may not be compatible with current in house 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 in line with new assessment criteria. 
  • D&T makes a massive contribution to STEM, with learning touching on science, technology, engineering or maths in some way in most lessons. This content is also now explicitly built into the curriculum and both maths and science in particular are tested as part of the GCSE and A level exams
  • The academic value of STEM subjects and their importance is undisputed but equally D&T is a part of the arts and there's significant evidence about the importance of a balanced curriculum that includes access to learning in the arts. Read the ImagineNation: The Value of Cultural Learning report for evidence to support this. 

Providing evidence for the benefits of attending CPD


Of particular importance over the next few years will be professional development support of D&T staff. 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:

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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