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S1 E5 - Setting Objectives, the National Curriculum & Developing DT Knowledge with Sarah Haigh


The Subject Leaders Podcast S1 E5 - Setting Objectives, the National Curriculum & Developing Teachers' DT Subject Knowledge with Sarah Haigh - Aidan Severs Consulting Ltd

In the fifth episode of The Subject Leaders Podcast, Sarah Haigh, subject leader for DT, answers the following questions:

  • How can subject leaders set clear objectives for their subject's curriculum?

  • How can subject leaders ensure that their subject's curriculum matches the national curriculum?

  • With the national Curriculum, do you feel like it's freeing or constraining to have that maybe one or two pages of objectives as opposed to, like you said, with maths and English and science, where it's actually quite a full curriculum?

  • Are skills continua a good idea when developing a subject based on a national curriculum outlined?

  • How can teachers themselves develop the subject knowledge needed to be able to teach DT?

  • Should children work through the entire iterative design process in each unit?

Find this podcast episode on your preferred podcast service: https://linktr.ee/subjectleaderspodcast


Below you can find the transcript for this episode of The Subject Leaders Podcast:

Introduction

Sarah: My name is Sarah. I currently work at Westbourne Primary School in Manningham in Bradford. I've been there for nearly seven years now, really enjoying it. It's quite a disadvantaged area, but that means we could do a lot of really good work there, which I'm sure is there everywhere.


Aidan: So, can you tell us a little bit about your experience as a primary teacher and a subject leader?


Sara: Yes, so I have worked in upper key stage two for my whole teaching career the past seven years. Four years in year six and then three years in year five. I was first given music as a subject lead, but I didn't really know what to do with it, and then was given DT in 2019. So I've been DT lead since 2019 and I've done quite a lot of work on our DT curriculum since then.


Aidan: Great. So is DT your subject specialism or have you got another?


Sara: I have not done DT since I was in year 13, year eleven, doing my GCCEs. It was just I was asked to do it. I do enjoy music, I've done a lot of music things, but I did biology at Uni. So very different to what my skill set is, but I've put a lot of work in and I've done a lot of work in my own subject knowledge to help me.


Aidan: Yeah, I think that's really encouraging for other subject leaders because quite often in primary you end up leading a subject that isn't necessarily one that you've spent a lot of time learning about, whether at Uni or otherwise. So it's going to be interesting to see how you've developed your own knowledge of a subject in order to be able to lead it in school. So, if the curriculum were being slimmed down, which subject would you fight hard to keep?


Sarah: I know I am a DT lead, but since becoming DT lead, I realised that it is actually a really important subject; I think it provides children with lots of transferable skills that they need in later life. And if you think about our future, a lot of jobs that they're going to have in the future are going to be based on technology, designing, things like that. So I think that is a really good one. I think all of the subjects have their place in education. It's just there are so many it's really hard to say which one we wouldn't need. I think they all are important in their own way.


Aidan: Yeah, it's a difficult question.


Sarah: Yeah. Just sitting on the fence on that one, I'm not quite sure!


Aidan: That's fine, that's allowed. So what do you love about being a subject leader?


Sarah: I like that you're given responsibility and you get to try things out, make mistakes, as everyone does, but work through things and it's giving that first step in, if you did want to go into leadership, you have that first step, a bit of responsibility and things like that.


Aidan: Yeah, it's a bit of a taster, isn't it, of what might be available to you as a school leader in other roles.


Sarah: And I think also if you've only been in one year group, make sure you then look at other parts, like other year groups and things like that. So you're not just then stuck in your own bubble of key stage, you then look elsewhere and then you get more information about where the children are either going or coming from as well.


Aidan: Yeah, definitely. And especially you've got time to get out of your class and to go and see your subject's lessons in action and you do get to interact with lots more children of different ages. That's great.

How can subject leaders set clear objectives for their subject's curriculum?

How can subject leaders ensure that their subject's curriculum matches the national curriculum?

How can teachers develop the subject knowledge needed to be able to teach DT?


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