Design & Technology

 ‘Good buildings come from good people and all problems are solved by good design’ Stephen Gardiner


In Design and Technology at St Francis CE Primary, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.


The teaching of Design Technology across the school follows the National Curriculum objectives. Children design products with a purpose in mind and an intended user of the products. Food technology is implemented across the school with children developing an understanding of where food comes from, the importance of a varied and healthy diet and how to prepare this.

Design and technology is a crucial part of school life and learning and it is for this reason that as a school we are dedicated to the teaching and delivery of a high quality Design and Technology curriculum; through well planned and resourced projects and experiences.

During Nursery and Reception pupils explore and use a variety of media and materials through a combination of child initiated and adult directed activities. They have the opportunities to learn to;  use different media and materials to express their own ideas, use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about form, function and purpose, make plans and construct with a purpose in mind using a variety of resources, develop skills to use simple tools and techniques appropriately, effectively and safely and cook and prepare food adhering to good health and hygiene routines.  Pupils have daily access to construction materials as well as collage and other art materials.

In KS1 our pupils are taught to;


  • design purposeful, functional, 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, information and communication technology


  • select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks, (or example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing)
  • 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

Pupils are also  taught to :

  • use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes 
  • understand where food comes from.

We generally teach in blocks or whole day sessions to allow pupils sufficient time to complete a project. This enables pupils to be fully immersed and engaged in their learning, which gives them better focus and allows them to accomplish more.

In KS2 learning is extended through a variety of creative and practical activities, pupils are taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an developmental process of designing and making. Pupils work in a range of relevant contexts, for example, the home, school, leisure, culture, enterprise, industry and the wider environment.

Pupils are given the opportunities to;


  •  use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, 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 wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks, such as 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 as gears, pulleys, cams, levers and linkages)
  •  understand and use electrical systems in their products, (for example series circuits incorporating switches, bulbs, buzzers and motors) 
  •  to apply their understanding of computing to programme, monitor and control their products


In addition to this and as part of their work with food, pupils at our school are taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Instilling a love of cooking in pupils will also open a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables pupils to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life.


Pupils progress and skills progression are best observed in the outcomes of their design projects.  Our pupils work hard to complete projects and can talk about the design features they have used.  Pupils can think about steps towards completion and are able to evaluate their projects in terms of suitability for purpose and effectiveness as well as steps for improvement.

Assessment of children’s learning in Design Technology is an ongoing monitoring of children’s understanding, knowledge and skills by the class teacher, throughout lessons. This assessment is then used to inform differentiation, support and challenge required by the children.
Summative assessment is conducted termly by class teachers across each year group of the school to inform the subject leader of progress or skills and knowledge still to be embedded. This is recorded on a skills progression sheet (similar to Target Tracker).
Design Technology is also monitored by the subject leader throughout the year in the form of book monitoring, looking at outcomes and pupil interviews to discuss their learning and understanding and establish the impact of the teaching taking place.

Extra opportunities for pupils to engage with design and technology include; encounter days and class topics.  Pupils often take part in themed cooking activities and construction projects are included in our Outdoor learning and science lessons e.g. building houses in Year One science (materials) and making moving mechanisms in Year Five (forces).