Special Educational Needs

Designing and making usable products gives pupils a real sense of achievement. They benefit from experiencing their own progress and taking responsibility for their own learning.

Special Educational Needs

According to OFSTED, pupils with special educational needs make better progress in D&T than in most other subjects.

This is because designing and making usable products gives pupils a real sense of achievement. They benefit from experiencing their own progress and taking responsibility for their own learning. They enjoy the practical application of their ideas. Plus, their personal engagement with the task improves attention span, patience, persistence and commitment.

All of which means special needs pupils can achieve results that compare or even exceed their peers. Design and Technology offers these pupils the chance to experience achievement at a level that may seldom occur elsewhere in their school life.

Why is D&T important for those with special educational needs (SEN)

Design and Technology is a popular and valuable subject for pupils with special educational needs. Knowledge and understanding is drawn from across the curriculum and helps to develop and enable numeracy, literacy and communication skills that can be applied in practical ways. This consolidates skills from other lessons and reinforces learning with positive outcomes.

A broad spectrum of the D&T curriculum should be planned and delivered in order to accommodate and challenge pupils of all abilities. It may be necessary to provide specialist equipment, adapt room layouts, utilise adult helpers and allow additional time for tasks.

How we support SEN in D&T

The Association has an SEN working group for those who teach D&T in special schools. The working group provides advice to members, and in some cases can arrange to visit and assess the needs of a particular school. The Association also organises training sessions and conferences for D&T teachers in special schools. We also offer simple, practical advice explaining strategies that work for pupils with different categories of needs.

You will find regular specialist articles in our D&T magazines and publications.

Planning D&T lessons for pupils with SEN

Adapting Design and Technology for pupils with special education needs is a real challenge for teachers. Yet because D&T adds so much to a pupil’s educational experience, our membership community actively provides many examples of how lesson plans may be adapted to address a range of learning needs.

Another example of how D&T teachers are inventive, resourceful, thoughtful and creative – and always put their pupils first.

Pupils with SEN often find designing activities problematic. Therefore thought is required to ensure pupils can access and produce successful initial design work. For example, it’s vital to offer a variety of methods of recording ideas quickly. In fact, teachers should be conscious of avoiding a rigid approach when it comes to recording and communicating design ideas and developments.

Activities focused on the physical making of designs should be supported ‘one to one’. Yet it is also important to encourage pupils to work as independently as possible. For example, by using key words sheets, flow charts and visual instruction sheets which explain a process in a step-by-step manner.

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Design and Technology (D&T) is the inspiring, rigorous and practical subject which prepares all young people to live and work in the designed and made world.

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