Rotational or ‘carousel’ models, where pupils move
to new material areas and teachers once or twice a
term, dominate the organisation of the Design and
Technology Key Stage 3 curriculum in England.
This dominance has been maintained in the face of
a great deal of concern expressed about the
negative effects of such models on the quality of
teaching and learning and in spite of the long term
availability of various alternative models.
This paper describes a small-scale study of D&T
departments where models other than simple
rotation through different material areas have been
attempted at KS3. The aim of the study was to find
out what had motivated some schools to go
against the dominant trend of rotational models at
KS3 and to elicit from these schools details of their
experience with alternative curriculum structures.
The study indicates that schools are successfully
adopting a range of non-rotational courses at KS3.
Most of the schools claim that the adoption of new
structures has led to improved KS3 results and
success at recruitment to GCSE programs in the
face of the new optional status of D&T at GCSE.
Schools also claim improvements in pupils’
perception of D&T as a subject as opposed to
disparate material areas and a reduction in sex
stereotyped views of the material areas.
The obvious objections to non-rotational courses
circle around issues of teacher specialism. The
schools in this study show that these objections
are surmountable; D&T teachers do have the
professional capability to extend their repertoire
of skills and pupils benefit from their doing so.