The key principles when it comes to delivering and assessing the NEA is that candidates’ work is authenticated through the completion of a Candidate Declaration Form and, the marks awarded truly reflect the candidates’ attainment and the levels of support they as an individual have received based on the evidence provided in the candidates’ portfolios and the teachers’ observational notes on the respective Candidate Record Form, these being different for AS and A Level.
Once the above is fully understood, there are many ways that students can be supported to meet their particular needs. It may be a student with a particular disability that precludes them from being able to safely operate a piece of machinery, needing more support from a Technician, or; a student with specific learning needs that finds it difficult to remain focused or progress through certain aspects of the NEA that require deeper levels of thinking, needing more prompting and support from their Teacher of Teaching Assistant. The way to handle this is to ensure the student is transparent in their portfolio and the Teacher is transparent when completing the required forms. Students should always be able to access progression through their learning, so where interventions are required to enable progression this must be acknowledged.
Using the examples already given;
- The student with disabilities may not be able safely physically operate tools or machinery, but they can demonstrate their skills and knowledge through instruction of a technician. This can be recorded in writing or through video/audio clips.
- The student unable to focus on progression due to barriers, may find it difficult to unpick a context and write a brief on their own, but may be very creative and practically skilled. The best way to handle this is through a 1-2-1 intervention with an appropriate adult scaffolding the thinking and decision making needed to get the student on a pathway they are engaged with.
What needs to be made clear here is; under no circumstances are writing frames or over-produced templates acceptable to support students. In Design and Technology it is accepted that student’s will have access to a variety of examples for planning and organising their work from prior learning and on display in departments. These are likely to demonstrate methods for delivering different sorts of activity. This is perfectly acceptable and as a result there may be many students in a centre with similar layouts or approaches, but all students should have independence to ultimately deliver their work as they see fit.