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Key Stage 4 uptake

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by carmic76, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. It is coming to that time of year when we all start planning for the next year.
    My HOD and I were talking today about what we plan to do in Sept, and the main issue was what do we need to do to increase uptake of Design Technology at KS4.
    With various Government and School innovatives we are finding that our numbers have fallen to about 50 students out of a year group of 250.
    We have tried to set groups this year which has worked and is something that we are going to carry on with in Sept along with entering the top ability pupils for GCSE Product Design Short Course.(Which may encourage some of them to opt for DT next year)
    My main query is what do you do in your school to encourage pupils to opt for DT at KS4? Our head want us to do more System and Control but a) money and b) we have very mixed ability pupils and most of them enjoy the 'hands on' part on DT.

     
  2. This may seem a bit obvious but have you talked to your customers about what they enjoy in Y7 & 8? We have started to opt for favourite types of project much earlier which is effectively turning the GCSE into a three year course.
    Not wishing to nit-pick but AQA's short course is D&T not Product Design.
     
  3. Simon67

    Simon67 New commenter

    We allowed this years Yr9 to "opt" for projects within D+T; over the year we offered 12, (with pupils doing 5), and got the pupils to rank their preference. Putting them into groups was blloming difficult, and obviously not all got their first 5 choices, but few complained! It also relied on staff being flexible...

    Our option uptake jumped by 50%.


     
  4. I ask my Year 8s to rank their D&T subjects 1st favourite to 5th favourite and give them their top 3 choices or at worst 1st, 2nd and 4th. I try to give them first choice first, second second and third third. First choice is in the Autumn term and Second choice in Spring term, both before they make their GCSE Options choices in March. Third choice is in the Summer term. Hit them with the facts to get them onside. Projects are ramped up to seem more GCSE like so they know what they are getting with theory and A3 design sheets. Longer time on a project. Longer time with a teacher. Doing a subject they want to do. We've got about 130 out of 240 kids for next year. We used to set in Year 8 and Year 9 but canned it as it was only a top set and was girl heavy which meant that the other groups was super, boy heavy. Good luck.
     
  5. We do quite a few things and each year we usually have good intake at GCSE - this year quite a few students opted for two techs!! (fingers crossed that this continues).
    here's the list of what we do:
    take a very positive attitude from year 8 - eg ' Which tech are you thinking of taking for GCSE?' this gets them thinking about it.
    produce our own GCSE options leaflet with info for parents - especially focuses on the fact that D and T is not 'wood work, cooking or sewing', has lots of project images - what you can do with DT at uni/college etc also focuses on broad skills/cross curricular/ science/ global/maths/IT aspects of DT also has past results in it - so parents can see them
    make sure all students and parents sign up to see us at parents eve no opting out! and if they can't come we arrange individual meetings with them.
    have an options assembly (all subjects do) where we show a slideshow of amazing GCSE projects from all areas (luckily we have lots), we talk about how if you find exams hard DT is good cos you have done 60% before hand etc, we really enthuse them and they get quite into it.
    have a DT event/evening in the Spring with our annual fashion show and showcase of all other work - followed by a huge display in the foyer
    don't put too great an emphasis on the GCSE theory at this stage as this can put them off!
    make sure year 9 projects are really different/challenging/interesting/ and that they all finish them
    work really hard to encourage students at all times in the months leading up to them choosing options and ensure the subject has a high profile in the school (through results and displays etc)
    I know this may not be easy if you don't have space/resources etc.. but it is our jobs on the line at the end of the day so we have to keep pushing the subject.. never assume it will just happen that students will choose it.

    Of course it can backfire - apparently Graphics have a class of 27 registered for AS level next year 9 (scary thought!)
     

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