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Home Maintenance

Culverhill School

Home Maintenance – KS4


The course is designed for the Year 10 and Y11 classes. It covers a number of areas of DIY for 6/7 weeks according to the term length. Staff try to engender a different attitude in the students, one that is found in learners who have a much more mature approach to the society and community around them. The finished article is a board displaying their skills on which they have worked independently and skilfully.


In Key Stage 4, students are encouraged to be aware and to be reflective on life when they leave school. While there are a wide range of life skills activities taking place in school, Home Maintenance has the strongest links to developing key interesting and beneficial skills allowing our students an exit route for leisure or career aspirations and can be transferred to their current and future homes.

The course offers wide-ranging opportunities for the students to gather basic practical skills, an understanding of the importance of safety, specialised machine use, an emphasis on the importance of accuracy and taking time with patience to complete a high quality outcome of which they can take a great deal of satisfaction and pride.


  • The main outcome of the course is that all students understand the essential importance of keeping themselves and others safe when working with tools and materials and have learned procedures and skills that ensure this. When a student thinks about a new task or activity the first thoughts are on how to do it safely and what needs to be done to achieve that.
  • To begin to develop strategic skills when beginning a new task or activity by planning the “job” from the start and then following the process to the expected completion.
  • To develop the skills to use a wide range of basic tools and other resources competently and safely.
  • To maintain a commitment, patience and perseverance to complete the task/ activity to the best of their ability.
  • That during a job there is a constant reference its quality and tidying up and cleaning is carried out regularly so the work area remains as pristine as possible.
  • That when finished the job and area is assessed to be the best the student can do.
  • Throughout the course there is reference to safety and to the financial implications of being able to do DIY jobs successfully.
  • Throughout the lessons, constantly explain and discuss how these skills can be implemented at home or in a career.
  • To have expert input into possible careers they may pursue in the future.

 Sessions and activities

Week 1. 

Introduction to safety in the workshop and how they are in a “different world” in terms expectations of their attitude and behaviour. The products of the skills we develop will be displayed on the students own board, an example of which is displayed see appendix 1). The student is given their own board with the first skill being to sand-down the wood to prepare it for an undercoat of paint which they put on. At this point there is an explanation of the different types of paint and the importance of quality brushes.

Week 2.

Outlining the course for the students in terms of a weekly plan is the next step. It is their responsibility to write down that plan of the coming week’s activities as it will be part of the display board and needs to be their own work. This is not done in the first week as there is a huge amount of discussion and explanation of safety and the two combined would be an overload of theory and talking.This is followed by painting the Board with a gloss paint, developing the skills of painting surfaces to produce a professional finish. During which we will also be discussing why the room should not look a mess all the time we are working. How do we achieve that?

Week 3

Here we intend to tile an area of the board which starts by preparing the surface. We ready the equipment of tiles, tile adhesive and spacers. The tiles are pushed on firmly and accurately with the spacers and excess adhesive is removed. A final coat of paint is added which allows the tiles to stick and grouting is applied.

Week 4

The board is cleaned then carefully checked that it is up to standard. The next topic is electricity involving learning to wire a plug. It is an opportunity to explore what mains electricity is in terms of power stations, pylons, sub-stations and fuse boxes. Comparisons with batteries are made emphasising the extreme danger of mains electricity. Each student has their own plug to wire after a demonstration has taken place. This is a complex piece of hand-eye coordination for our students in combination with remembering how to wire a plug. It can be challenging but varying amounts of support can be given. The plug is checked then tested by an adult to ensure it is successful.    

Week 5 

The focus is on simple plumbing. An understanding of the wide range of types of plumbing and the skills needed and why plumbing is essential. We begin with the plastic pipes found under the sink, what the do and how they are water-tight but not in the way that the pipes of the central heating system are sealed or  the gas pipes to the boiler, oven and hob and fires. Students prepare their copper pipe, attach another piece and seal it using a soldering iron with a member of staff. Other techniques of sealing copper pipes are also explained and discussed.

Week 6

  Although the tasks have been written in discreet weeks there is often an overlap from week to week so most of lesson 6 has already been taken. The students have now completed all their tasks and now need to prepare everything to be attached to the board. Surfaces are cleaned and tasks tidied up. It is up to the student how they wish to display their finished articles on the board. Clamps are needed to be screwed on the board. Photographs taken, certificates filled in and a further photograph of the completed product is required.

Week 7

Completion of the board takes place during this lesson. Students are asked what they enjoyed doing most and what they found difficult. There is a professional input on careers in the trades practised and discussed during the course and what different colleges offer to further their ambitions.