This page contains resources and guidance to help teachers develop National Curriculum Design lessons in primary schools.
- Design through Making. Many schools teach children to work on paper to “design” a building, a textile, a model etc, without children having any kind of understanding of the properties and abilities of the materials they might use, or experience of manipulating these materials. This results in a kind of “fictitious” design, which reflects little understanding of the design process. Instead we advocate Design through Making – a simple process much more akin to the way creative adults work, in which children work with materials and techniques from the outset to create a design. Pupils directly experience how a material stands, how materials can be fastened, how they look, all of which inform the design process. All the resource below promote a Design through Making approach. See all our Design through Making resources here.
- Sketchbooks as a Creative Tool. Instead of designing on paper, schools should consider how they can embed sketchbooks in all creative processes. The sketchbooks should be owned by the pupils, and should be at the centre of the pupils’ creativity. Sketchbooks can be used to gather, collect, experiment and reflect. Teachers should not be afraid if sketchbooks seem chaotic – adult sketchbooks are often chaotic – they are a place to put unresolved ideas into the world, which can be assimiliated later. Sketchbooks are rarely linear. See also Sketchbooks for Design or Thinking and explore all our sketchbook resources here.
- Schools should work to provide access to adequate tools and materials. In our experience many pupils would benefit from time invested in practising using tools, including scissors, glue guns, pliers, saws, hammers etc. See also Using Tools resources.
- That schools make links with design organisations such as:
- The Design Museum (http://designmuseum.org), to make full use of their educational offer to discover the work of contemporary designers.
- The Design Council (http://designcouncil.org.uk) to explore their resources and knowledge base.
- The V&A (http://www.vam.ac.uk) to explore work of designers and makers over the last few hundred years, including textiles, glassware, ceramics etc.
- Local museums and galleries.
The new National Curriculum for Art & Design (Primary) (September 2014) states that:
- Pupils in Key Stage 1 should be taught: “to use a range of materials creatively to design and make products.”
- Pupils in Key Stage 2 should be taught: “to develop their techniques.” and be taught about “great designers”.