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The creative balancing act

The Design and Technology Primary Coordinators' File

DATA, The Design and Technology Association, 16 Wellesbourne House, Walton Road, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire. Pounds 24

Carolyn Goodhew on guidance for the primary co-ordinator.

We know from inspection reports that although there have been improvements in design and technology primary teaching there is still cause for concern. Few teachers are secure in their knowledge and understanding of underlying processes. There is still weakness in the kind of planning that ensures children are exposed to essential features of D T. In particular, some assignments are prescribed in ways that do not allow children's designing and planning skills to be developed. The result is a series of experiences more akin to craft. There is insufficient evidence of planning for progression.

In many schools, subject in-service training has a low priority, and reduced funding causes resourcing problems. A lack of non-teaching time continues to frustrate the effectiveness of the co-ordinator, who is expected to address all these problems to ensure a high level of teaching and learning in the school.

The Primary Co-ordinators' File is another excellent publication from DATA, which provides a comprehensive range of materials to address all these issues and more.

It has five main sections: * Managing design and technology including advice on preparation for an OFSTED inspection.

* Guidance on curriculum planning with suggested planning frameworks and a sub section on assessment, recording and reporting. Guidance for balance and progression is included in this section. Balance and progression can only be assured by an equal emphasis on children's intellectual, creative and personal qualities as well as the accepted ones of knowledge and skills of specific techniques.

* Managing resources indicating appropriate tools and materials * Health and safety with drawings to show how tools should be used * Subject knowledge and its application - developing teachers' knowledge.

Five further sections allow for the school's own policy and development plan, schemes of work, plans for professional development to support staff, school resources and records of school-based INSET to be stored.

It even contains a booklet for classroom assistants which gives advice on supporting teaching and learning in the classroom.

This comprehensive and accessible file, designed to be a working document will prove a valuable point of reference for co-ordinators. Material of such good quality is always welcome and much needed.

Carolyn Goodhew is a lecturer in Design and Technology and Art at King Alfred's College, Winchester

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