Raising the profile of design and technology in your primary school

VEX IQ

Raising the profile of design and technology in primary schools is a key priority for teachers around the UK. Helen Genney, a primary teacher and design and technology leader at Winterton Junior School, is no exception.

Helen recently attended two CPD activities run by STEM Learning – Leading an effective primary design and technology curriculum and VEX IQ: integrating robotics into your curriculum.

We chatted to Helen about her experiences and the impact these courses have had on her and her pupils.

How was the experience of applying for the CPD?

It was really straightforward to apply on the website. For most schools, it’s important to get approval from the headteacher or senior leader, but luckily my headteacher is more than happy to approve CPD.

What did you do during your days here?

On the Leading an effective primary design and technology curriculum CPD, we learned about the design and technology curriculum in more detail and shared ideas on assessment and lesson planning. We also had practical activities to complete, which gave us plenty of ideas and skills that we could take back to school.

The VEX IQ: integrating robotics into your curriculum CPD made me realise that robotics is the perfect way to combine design and technology and computing. Using robotics in the classroom provides a hands-on and creative way of showing students the practical applications of both subjects. I was also given equipment to help deliver subject content in computing, science, design and technology and mathematics using the VEX IQ robotics platform.

What was great about both courses is that we had experts on-hand to give advice and pointers. We were also able to provide feedback at the end of the CPD, giving us the opportunity to discuss how we were planning on applying our learning back at school.

What impact do you feel this CPD has had on your teaching?

Following on from the CPD, I went back to school and shared my findings and delivered training with other members of staff at my school.

It has definitely helped me to focus on what we need to do as a school to move forward. I am also equipped with a clear path to pursue the next steps in my subject leadership.

What impact has this had on your pupils?

Pupils have really taken to the new cross-curricular approach to their lessons. During one project, we linked mechanisms to habitats and we were also able to interweave literacy skills and research.

In maths, as part of a module on measurement, we made a moving book! It was the perfect way to show pupils why we need maths skills whilst doing something practical.

Find out more

If you would like to increase your knowledge and confidence in teaching design and technology in your primary school, check out the following bursary-supported CPD activities.

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