Curriculum Vision

At Ark Acton the fundamental purpose of Design is children bringing their own ideas to life; in Design & Production sessions we want to see our children to develop concepts from an idea through to sketching and modelling and then into high quality artefacts they are proud of.

For the 14 weeks of the Summer Term, all KS3 students work on a Design and Production challenge.

To achieve this, students need to be able to see the value of their work, with an authentic end-goal or ‘real-life’ problem in mind. Our curriculum centres around 3 core pillars, which are embedded at Key Stage 3:

  • Designing: Design is an iterative process where mistakes are a welcome part of learning. Children will take pride in refining, developing, and redrafting their experiences and communicating ideas in their own portfolio. In each project, students are encouraged to explore and express their own identity as designers, continually pushing themselves to create their best work.
  • Making: Children will explore a range of both commercial and hand-made processes. We explicitly teach simple skills using a range of materials and media so that children can all make beautiful products with purpose.
  • Curiosity: We want to transform the lives of our students, and their local community, by encouraging them to question the world around us to identify real world problems, find out how things are made and what the impact is of products on our environment.

In Key Stage 3 our curriculum begins with a Year 7 project that challenges pupils to come up with a design for a dance shoe. During this unit, pupils will practice idea generation and sketching as well as simple hand stitching techniques to make a prototype. The project culminates in writing a design pitch in which they explain their design concept to persuade the Principal to invest in their new design concept. This also develops students’ confidence and character.

In Year 8, pupils develop further their skills in sketching and ideas generation in response to a real-life brief to create a Black History themed draw-string tote bag to be sold in our reception. As part of this project, pupils have the opportunity to learn to use a sewing machine, a skill they can use for life, as well as printing techniques such as lino-printing and stencilling. Alongside this, pupils learn marketing skills through working as a team to create promotional material and write their own captions for social media for the sale of the bag.

In Year 9, students develop their making skills by learning techniques including cutting, CAD and gluing. This project culminates in students producing a prototype lunchbox designed to promote healthy eating and reduce food and material waste. They will build on their evaluative skills by taking feedback from the catering staff before moving to their final prototype. This project also builds students’ cultural awareness by taking inspiration from Japanese bento boxes.