Tel: 01743 289 418
Fax: 01743 289 416
Q: I teach food technology and my technician hours are being cut. Are there any official guidelines I can use to help fight my case as to why I need another member of staff with me, and how many technician hours I should have on a full practical timetable?
A: There is no legal requirement governing technicians, however we fully recognise the important contribution that technicians make to both the school as a whole and the department, as well as standards achieved by pupils. The Design and Technology Association Annual Survey of Provision in Design and Technology in Schools in England and Wales provides this information. This has the national average figure for important aspects like resourcing (including technicians). These figures can be shown to your SMT if you are below the national average and can argue that this is impacting on teaching and learning. The 2004/5 survey showed that on average, departments have 33.5 hours of technician support per week (whole department, not just food). The Design and Technology Association recommends there should be one full time technician for every three D&T environments, with 12 hours' technician time specifically for food.
You may also wish to purchase the publication 'Technicians Guide' from the Online Shop. This resource provides a range of information, including the formula for working out how many technicians you are entitled to.
Q: I am a food technology teacher and am having real issues getting pupils to bring ingredients for cooking. What is the overall legal/accountability implications for this, and do you have any exemplars of how other schools have tackled the situation?
A: Firstly, there are not really any legal implications - as long as the school provides students access to the NC and an appropriate curriculum. An important question - are you engaging the pupils with the type of work you are asking them to do? Is it relevant to the pupils and their cultural/social backgrounds?
Are there financial implications? Many schools do provide basic ingredients to those students on free school meals to allow them access to the curriculum. Have you producing a costing for your scheme of work, as asked for support in funding this adequately from the SMT?
Another aspect to consider is the accessibility and communication for all students and their parents. For example how do the students know what they are expected to bring - do they have to write ingredients down or are they provided with deptartment recipe books or similar? Sometimes language can be a barrier. Some schools ask for a contribution at the start of the year/project rather than week by week and provide ingredients for them.
Q: What is the guidance related to using eggs in primary school? I understand advisers say we should only use hard-boiled. What about cartons and cooking?
A: You may demonstrate breaking an egg, but you should not allow pupils to do so. Provided egg boxes are cleaned and free of any contamination from broken eggs, they should present a minimal risk of those handling them acquiring food poisoning. However, Salmonella could probably survive on the boxes for a period of time (depending on storage conditions) and they would not be expected to grow, therefore numbers would probably be very low if they were present. Most importantly you should remember to wash hands before and after handling food. Pupils should also be taught to resist putting fingers in their mouths (not to sample the goods!)
Q: We want to prepare and cook a chicken curry for a class celebration. I've heard chicken is a high-risk food; what are the D&T Association's views?
A: Children should learn how to prepare high-risk foods; it would be a shame to avoid this issue. High-risk foods support the growth of bacteria. Make it part of the lesson to tell the children how important it is to store chicken correctly (datemarking, carrying from shop to home, temperature in fridge), defrost whole chickens thoroughly, cook chicken properly, how to test that it is cooked, how to store cooked chicken, when not to reheat, also a high risk of cross-contamination. You should look to purchase the Association's 'Risk Assessment in Secondary School Design and Technology Teaching Environments' available from the Online Shop.
Q: The adult helper in our nursery class wants to do a cookery activity with a small group, in the kitchen area - what rules does he follow?
A: As the kitchen area is a specific food area, there is less chance of contaminating food with paint, glue or other materials than if they were working in part of a classroom. They should all: wear aprons for food preparation only, roll up sleeves and tie hair back, wash hands and remove jewellery, avoid coughing or sneezing over food, avoid touching hair, mouth or nose, wash hands regularly and cover all cuts/scratches. Either the adult helper or the food technology teacher should have a foundation food hygiene certificate.
Accommodation, Machinery and Materials
Q: What guidance does the D&T Association offer with regards to pupils wearing protective clothing?
A: All health and safety training information is set out in the publication Health and Safety Training Standards in Design and Technology. The Association recommends every school has a copy of this publication, as well as BS4163:2007 . All publications are available from the Online Shop.
Pupils should wear protective clothing when doing practical work as not only does it protect their clothing but also puts them I the correct frame of mind for practical work. With regards to clothing, the publication BS 4163:2007 states, "Employers are required to assess the risks to which young persons are exposed, and to implement measures to protect their health and safety, taking into account lack of experience and maturity." Section 3.2.11 also goes on to state, "Suitable and sufficient storage for clothing, school bags and cases should be provided away from the main practical work area. All persons working in specialist areas should use appropriate protective clothing".
Training students to use appropriate safety wear is essential within design and technology teaching. In relation to the type of equipment you will be using, eye protection/face shields are a must when there is a danger of high speed flying particles, molten metal, sparks, intense glare heat and spatter.
Q: Is MDF safe to use?
A: Much media attention has been drawn towards MDF and the hazards associated with its use in schools. The D&T Association has no evidence from either HSE or the Education Service Advisory Committee (ESAC), which leads us at present to call for MDF to be removed from use in schools. We however welcome the decision by the HSE to fund a research project at De Montfort University. Hardwood dust is classified in COSHH as carcinogenic, and softwood is now a suspect carcinogen, although not defined as such in COSHH. Thus under risk assessment procedures substitution by natural wood may not eliminate the problem.
The D&T Association's advice to schools:
- A high level of cleaning of the teaching environment must take place to reduce to a minimum the dust in the environment.
- All machining of MDF, and other timbers, should have good quality and effective dust extraction.
- Rooms should be well ventilated when working MDF by hand tools.
Rotary sanding discs or machine sanders with no dust extraction must not be used in schools. Beware of companies trying to sell these to schools.
Q: Is there a definite regulation that prescribes which tools can be used by which year groups?
A: No, there is no specific guidance of this type. Please refer to BS4163:2007 and the CLEAPSS Model Risk Assessments for D&T. The latter outlines appropriate restrictions. Both publications are available from the Online Shop.
Q: Should goggles be worn when soldering?
A: Whether or not you have to wear goggles will depend initially on the type of soldering being undertaken. If soft soldering is being done with a soldering iron then it is unlikely that goggles are necessary however if hard soldering/brazing is being done using a blow torch or welding torch then goggles are recommended. It is always advisable to undertake a risk assessment if you are unsure.
Q: What are the requirements relating to emergency stop switches on machinery?
A: There are several answers depending on the type of machine.
It is important that the machine safety stop buttons or the individual machine safety stop buttons do not activate the main stop circuit.
A specialist electrical contractor should interpret relevant regulations to ensure any machine used in school workshops meets current requirements. A particular issue will be the provision of emergency stop switches. These are often retrofitted and these notes are to guide that process. These are the recommendations of the curriculum adviser and must not be used to override any statutory regulations. There is a need for some interpretation of the regulations since whilst regulations describe what must be done and must be followed, these notes attempt to suggest how the requirements may be achieved. The aim in all cases is to provide an easy-to-access, 'hands-free' means of stopping the machine in an emergency but lowest cost, easiest or quickest to fit solution may not always be the most appropriate for the following reasons: The machine operators are children between 11 and 16 and consequently may have a narrow range of reach.
Often the machine operator position varies between operations. Some solutions may create other dangers, such as a trip hazard, in school workshops. Some solutions are not robust enough to withstand day-to-day usage by inexperienced operators. Whilst safety is paramount, the visual impact of any solution on the environment is also a consideration.
Q: Do you have any information on suppliers of hand tools for children?
A: The following websites may be of use:
Technology Teaching Systems
British Educational Suppliers Association - search engine for educational suppliers
Schoolzone - search engine for educational suppliers
Opitec - suppliers of educational equipment
Q: I wondered how to get the Foundation Certificate in Food Hygiene
To be awarded this certificate, you must attend a one-day training course, often provided by Local Authorities. Details of courses can be found on The Chartered Institute for Environmental Health website.
Q: Are there any guidelines for refurbishing a primary room for D&T activities?
A: We are not aware of any specific primary guidance, but suggest that you use the Primary Subject Leader File (section 4) as a starting point to define what resources would be needed, then look at suggestions on storage. Space will need to be considered - will the room be for groups of pupils or will it be used for whole class teaching? Will there be a portable oven or food space? NAAIDT's publication Make It Safe gives guidance on some issues and is aligned to BS6143. Additional suggestions:
- Ensure you create a very flexible work space so staff can easily change things to suit different types of lessons - maybe desks on wheels so they can be pushed about.
- Have very organised storage boxes, labelled clearly with laminated labels. These can be storage units if you have the money or cheap metal/wood frames and then buy storage containers to go on them from a plastic shop (if you are low on funds, consider approaching supermarkets for donations). Mushroom containers are quite sturdy and, at least in the Midlands, are bright blue plastic! Even photocopy paper boxes labelled neatly work well. Doing this helps both staff and children to access materials easily without all the stuff having to be put out on tables.
- Tool boards look attractive but are very expensive. You can buy tools and put them in labelled plastic containers. Get staff and children to check each time they use them.
- Create your own system to check resources and to ensure they are tidy.
- Create a system to ensure that the consumables are replaced/bought when finished.
- Make display boards that could be used to display different tasks (e.g. joining and finishing techniques) and how to use tools. Ensure that the electric points are in useful places for access and, if possible, get an internet connection so children can use this for research, etc.
- Consider if the room will be used for food - really this is difficult if there will be much sawing etc. going on, however we have to be realistic. You have to keep one sink for food preparation and nothing else, which can just be covered by e.g. a piece of stiff plastic. Make sure you have clean storage for the food utensils, etc.
Q: What is the average allocation for D&T in a primary school budget (per pupil)?
A: According to the D&T Association's Annual Survey of Provision for Design and Technology in Schools in England and Wales 2004/2005, the average capitation figure for D&T in primary in 2004 was £1.38 per pupil. The Association's recommended figure is £4.35 per pupil.
Special Educational Needs
Q: I need information on disapplying a student with SLD from the National Curriculum at KS3. He is statemented and suffers from the following : cerebral palsy, tracheostomy, mobility and speech, right hand reluctance, voice quality poor. Any advice on the procedure would be welcome.
A: This is a complex area.
Where to get advice on D&T curriculum for SLD, legal entitlements - There is a lot of advice on the QCA website - in particular the inclusion section, where there are also general guidelines for all subjects. For D&T. it tells what aspects of the PoS to focus on, and which parts to leave out, and helpful advice on adapting activities for pupils who will never achieve above level 2 by 16 years.
Disapplication and inclusion, classroom support - National Curriculum D&T 2000 contains nine pages of suggested ways to adapt the PoS for learners, that teachers can use (which you might refer to as disapplying though it isn't really).
As you can see from the above statement, including all learners is the expectation rather than disapplication. Many SLD pupils perform well in D&T and it helps them with basic skills. However, in a mainstream school, it can be hard to get enough in class support, many pupils would need one to one support and this should be indicated in the statement.
Advice would be to seek specialist help and support, a classroom assistant for practical activities, and adapt the activities appropriate to the needs of the pupil, and perhaps let them do less at KS3 to give bigger focus on basic skills. The pupil is legally entitled to D&T experience, so unless the statement indicates a particular provision.
Q: We need information on making provision for pupils with disabilities, especially in relation to accommodation.
A: The following links will be helpful:
- Centre for Accessible Environments
- Department for International Development
- DfE D&T Accommodation
Training to Teach D&T
Q: I am a GTP student teacher of D&T and am trying to find information as to the national requirements for the provision of trainee teachers. I want to be sure that, through my specific GTP training, I have the required D&T practice and competence.
A: 'Minimum Competences for Students to Teach Design and Technology in Secondary Schools' (Research Paper 4) was revised in 2003 and is accompanied by a CD containing all the core and specific competences as text and pdf files for easy copying and printing. Contents include rationale and basic principles, core competences in the context of D&T, and subject specific knowledge in the areas of ECT, food technology, materials technology and textiles technology. The competences have been developed to exemplify, in a D&T context, the generic standards and requirements set out in 'Qualifying to Teach: Professional Standards for Qualified Teacher Status and Requirements for Initial Teacher Education' TTA, 2002, and 'Qualifying to Teach: Handbook of Guidance' TTA, 2002. The competences are intended to clarify what newly qualified teachers of D&T can reasonably be expected to have achieved on completion of their training. They also form a basis for structuring a longer-term pathway for CPD. Visit the Online Shop to order this paper.
Q: What are the requirements for D&T teachers (four fields of knowledge, two tiers)? Where are they written?
A: The information you are looking for can be found in D&T Association's Research Paper Number 4, 'Minimum Competences for Students to Teach Design and Technology in Secondary Schools'. Visit the Online Shop for more information.
Q: I'm going to be starting A PGCE course in secondary design and technology in about two months, but I am slightly concerned about my practical experience. I completed BSc with the Open University so haven't had much practical experience for about three years. Can you suggest any courses I could take to brush up on my practical skills?A: You don't say what area of D&T you are specialising in so it is difficult to advise. If you are a food technologist then some of the below will be less appropriate.
It is difficult to advise you on specific courses as there is no one thing that will be of use to you. Various providers (i.e. universities, companies etc) advertise one or two day top up courses on specific aspects of D&T.
You are right in expressing concern, as developing your practical capability is key to becoming a good D&T teacher. If you are doing the OU flexible PGCE, you will undertake two teaching practices at two separate schools and it will be their responsibility (working under guidance from the OU) to help you acquire the necessary skills. Of course, this will depend on their level of expertise and to an extent the quality of their resources. For example, if they do not teach electronics up to GCSE, (perfectly possible) you will find it more challenging to acquire this skill. Similarly CAD/CAM, a key area of D&T, is represented in different ways in schools and is resourced extremely variably! Again the level to which you will be able to reach will depend almost completely on the level of training that the schools are able to give you. This is why, in some respects, a full time course based at an institution can be more appropriate for those people who do not have a substantial designing making background.
Ideally you should already have good practical skills and knowledge and some experience of designing, making, using physical materials, machinery, processes and basic electronics/control technology. You can then build on this with experience in two good D&T departments. The bottom line is you must make sure that you are well equipped to meet the demands of this subject and will need to accept a lot of responsibility yourself for acquiring the skills. A possible way forward would be to approach a local school and see if you could spend time assisting in D&T.
All answers are given in good faith. E&OE.