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Being a Design and Technology Coordinator

The journey of a Design and Technology Coordinator (part one)

Design and Technology is an exciting, challenging subject which seems to be neglected or taught poorly in some primary schools. Design and Technology coordinators play a crucial role in ensuring that children are exposed to the subject in the best possible ways.

Upon completion of the NQT induction year, teachers encounter a number of new challenges. For example, teachers no longer receive extra time off timetable for 'NQT time' and they end up having to make do with PPA (Planning, Preparation, Assessment time) like everybody else.

More exciting and pleasant however, is being given a subject to lead across the school. The subject I was given to lead was Design and Technology. This was a subject in which I was badly lacking in basic knowledge let alone expertise and was also a subject that seemed to have been neglected by many of my fellow colleagues who were already struggling to cover much of the curriculum in their squeezed time tables!

Fast forward one and a half years on and I am now feeling far more equipped to lead Design and Technology and I might actually say that I'm doing a pretty good job of it! Here's how I've managed to go from D & T dummy to a crack coordinator for this once neglected subject.

First, I had some learning to do...

Without much of a clue about what good D & T practice looks like, I sought some professional development opportunities through my local authority and other institutions in the area. Low and behold, I found one at Manchester Metropolitan University who were running a course for D & T coordinators both new and inexperienced and older, experienced subject leaders who needed to get a grip of the National Curriculum changes.

The course was very useful and gave delegates an opportunity to see examples of good practice and children's work. It also pointed me towards great resources such as the Design and Technology Association's 'Projects on a Page' which I have since purchased for our school.

Then, I had to determine our D & T strengths and areas for development…

I did this by devising a questionnaire for staff to audit their subject knowledge and to self assess which areas (if any) of D & T they have taught. Staff were more than happy to complete the questionnaire and it gave me a great insight into what needed to be done to enable the subject to be taught more rigorously.

I needed to address the troops…

Having determined our team's level of D & T expertise, I began work on a presentation for a staff meeting that would serve several key aims:

1) Outline the requirements of the new National Curriculum for D & T
2) Highlight our current strengths and weaknesses in terms of practice and curriculum coverage
3) Impart subject knowledge
4) Highlight the direction D & T teaching would be taking in school

The presentation was hugely successful as I felt all of the above aims were achieved using practical work and discussion that was tailored specifically to the needs of our staff.

Having won hearts and minds…

Now that my fellow teachers were onboard and more equipped to deliver D & T in line with the new curriculum, I set about organising some D & T workshops and activities that would make actually teaching the subject more likely to happen with each class having very tight timetables.

Unfortunately, a brief period of sickness meant that some momentum was lost but I have since been able to put my head together with the PSHE coordinator to organise some cooking workshops for each year group. I'll be blogging about this later on this year so watch this space.

So what's next?

There's still a long way to go before D & T achieves a more prominent status in our school so I shall persevere with organising workshops and making sure that the subject actually gets taught properly rather than something that is tagged on to a topic at the end of a term. I'll do this by organising events across the school and by checking in with my colleagues to ensure they have all they need to make D & T teaching and learning the delight that it truly can be.

Fill in your details below to download the PowerPoint I used to deliver CPD at my school!

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    By | 30 May, 2015 | Blog

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