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Design & Technology

Design and Technology


The National Curriculum Intent for Design and Technology:

  • Develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world.
  • Build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users.
  • Critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others.
  • Understand and apply the principles of nutrition.
  • Learn how to do some basic cooking.


Our Intent

Design and Technology prepares children to deal with the world’s rapidly changing situations and enable children to use, develop and combine a wide range of essential life skills. It encourages children to become healthy, independent and creative problem solvers. This understanding allows them to reflect and evaluate present and past design and technology. Combined together, children become confident and informed consumers, potential innovators and rounded members of the public. 

At Old Clee Primary Academy, we aim to deliver an engaging, practical and imaginative Design and Technology curriculum which encompasses practical skills, understanding and secure development of life skills.  With the skills taught and developed through our curriculum, we intend to encourage children to be creative thinkers with the ability to examine designs and refine these further. Through the study of Design and Technology, children will learn to work collaboratively in a team and become articulate speakers, who can communicate their ideas clearly. The curriculum will provide them with opportunities to think innovatively and inquisitively. Design Technology is delivered as a discrete subject which is interleaved across the year to embed essential skills through retrieval practice and application. Through our curriculum, cross-curricular links will be identified and made meaningful in appropriate contexts for children to explore. 

Our emphasis on lateral thinking is underpinned by opportunities to follow a design, make, evaluate and improve a system using their own initiative. Our Design Technology curriculum covers the skills outlined in the national curriculum through broad, challenging and purposeful units of work.  All Design and Technology projects will contribute to children’s awareness of the wider curriculum and how skills are transferrable in their daily lives.



Each subject concept has its own facet of rich knowledge categories which help to strengthen the design technology schema. These are taught and revisited throughout each year group from Year 1 to 6. 



Criteria for progression sits within the Design Technology end points set out for each year group. These are the end points pupils should reach to show they are meeting the expectations of the curriculum. The route to achieving the goals includes creating a strong schema, based on rich knowledge, subject specific vocabulary and POP tasks (Proof of Progress). We are striving to become a 'Thinking Matters' school and are on a long journey with the children. Children are given encouraged and given time to consider how they approach projects supported by scaffolds when needed and are challenged through high-level questioning, modals and experiences.      


Our long term plans provide a clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered - they are the curriculum drivers. Each year group have three design and technology drivers, underpinned by the National Curriculum. All knowledge categories are taught within each driver and therefore, pupils are exposed to these across three times across each academic year. It is through the revisiting of each category that design technology connections are deepened and helps strengthen learning in the long term memory.  



Design and Technology lessons begin with a weekly review activity which embeds knowledge through retrieval practice. This activity might take the form of a quiz, vocabulary activity or practical task that promotes information recall. Additionally, each year group will research significant innovators providing them with a wider understanding of how Design and Technology can change the world in a range of contexts. Working environments will have quality working walls which enables children to consistently see progression steps, work independently and acquire technical vocabulary needed to articulate ideas clearly.

Knowledge of food and nutrition are underpinned throughout the whole school.  This is further embedded through our Design and Technology curriculum, which provides children with the opportunity to develop an understanding of where food comes from, the importance of a varied healthy diet and the skills to prepare and make meals for themselves or a specific purpose.             


Early Years Foundation Stage

Children start to explore in Foundation Stage using their imagination through modelling materials to make different end products. Children have the chance to explore, taste and smell a variety of fruit and vegetables through stories and snack time. Ways of joining are discussed, developed and improved securing a solid foundation for the children to start Design and Technology work in Year 1.


Teaching of Design and Technology in Key Stage One

In KS1, children are exposed to a wide collection of core areas within Design and Technology such as cooking and nutrition, construction, materials and more. Each project is presented in a meaningful context and is explored starting with inspirational designers, making designs and eventually making products.  Children are given design criteria to support the process of designing imaginative products with a purpose. Importance is placed on evaluation and what this involves as a designer, which empowers children to innovate and share their skills or knowledge. Opportunities to remake, recover or redesign are constant due to the interleaving of lessons. Children are given the opportunity to develop practical skills individually or as part of a team.



  • Purposeful, working, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria. 
  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through talking, drawing, templates, mock-ups and where appropriate, use information and communication technology to create designs.   


  • Select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks.
  • Select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics.


  • Explore and evaluate a range of existing products. 
  • Evaluate their ideas and products against design criteria.


Technical Knowledge:

  • Build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable
  • Explore and use mechanisms [for example, levers, sliders, wheels and axles], in their products.


Teaching of Design and Technology in Key Stage Two 

Designs, ideas and products are refined at every stage of the design process. KS2 will have many opportunities to apply practical skills to produce products in a range of relevant contexts that will enable them to build on prior experiences from KS1. Children will research and generate their own design briefs, criteria and specifications based on users’ needs or the purpose of the product. They will be able to articulate their choices using appropriate vocabulary for their year group as this is embedded in lessons and built upon through retrieval.



  • Use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, and aimed at particular individuals or groups.
  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design.
  • Select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks.
  • Select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics.


  • Select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing] accurately.
  • Select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.


  • Investigate and analyse a range of existing products.
  • Evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work.
  • Understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world.


Technical Knowledge:

  • Apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures.
  • Understand and use mechanical systems in their products [for example, gears, pulleys, cams, levers and linkages].
  • Understand and use electrical systems in their products [for example, series circuits incorporating switches, bulbs, buzzers and motors].
  • Apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products.


Design Technology will be delivered in fortnightly lessons with a Proof of Progress (POP) task at the end of every term (way points). This will give teachers a clear understanding of knowledge retention.   Areas of study will be interleaved to develop schema knowledge and aid retrieval so that information can extend to children’s long term memory. A schema is created when pupils organise knowledge into meaningful units. Knowledge webs present topics around the threshold concepts (big ideas) in design technology by using relevant knowledge categories. 

The example below shows how the topic of structures has been presented using the relevant knowledge category of technical knowledge.




It is our aspiration that through our Design and Technology curriculum, children are able to enter the world with secure skills from cooking and nutrition, to computer coding, to being innovative and creative thinkers. Children will leave our school having experienced and acquired a range of technical knowledge of tools, materials, mechanical systems and recipes. Through regular opportunities to work as part of a team or individually, children will be articulate communicators who will share their ideas clearly.  These skills are integral life skills that will provide a basis for further application to the real world as part of a community.   

Half termly ‘Proof of Progress’ Pop Tasks have been created which require pupils to undertake an independent activity. Then we assess the combined retrieval of several previously taught practical skills or continuous concept elements.   


If you were to walk into a Design Technology lesson you would see:

  • Children interact with their plans and designs, annotating these throughout the design cycle.
  • Children use a range of maths and science knowledge to support their learning.
  • Children are immersed in food hygiene practices as well as healthy eating.
  • Elements of interleaved learning such as recapping prior knowledge within lessons.


Through monitoring:

  • Monitoring of teaching and learning shows evidence of growing staff subject knowledge and an understanding of concepts being taught.
  • Our Design Greats are consistently recovered in most lessons, and pupils are expected to use correct design terminology.
  • Learning is tracked and monitored to ensure all children make good progress.
  • Past learning is repeatedly ‘interleaved’ which enables pupils to recall and build upon work from the previous years.
  • Monitoring to ensure all continuous concepts are covered within each lesson as well as all concept elements covered throughout the year.


Pupil Voice

What does being a Designer mean at Old Clee?

Year 1 Pupil: It means you build and make different things. You do it with your ideas.’

Year 4 Pupil: ‘To look at famous designers and how they created their inventions.’

What do you think of Design Technology lessons at Old Clee?

Year 6 Pupil: ‘I like that we have made an alarm and love having the chance to make things.’

Year 3 Pupil: ‘I like looking at the designers and we even made our own chair using glue guns.’

What would you like to improve about being a designer at Old Clee?

Year 4 Pupil: ‘I would like more time to make some of the things that the Design Greats make and different materials.’


Priorities for 2023-2024

  • Ensure children are using high level vocabulary linked with the new learning. Children will consider synonyms for technical specific vocabulary.
  • Ensure children develop their technical knowledge within Design and Technology. Children will have the opportunity to develop technical knowledge that comes through the STEM elements covered within each area of design and technology.  
  • Monitor coverage of all DT Concepts. Ensure all year groups are incorporating the four continuous concepts within each lesson as well as covering all DT End Points throughout the year.
  • To provide CPD for new projects involving CAD and programmable technology. Through innovating new projects and introducing projects which enable children to experience programmable technology used in everyday appliances.