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Design & Technology

‘ What is design? It’s where you stand with a foot in two worlds- the world of technology and the world of people and human purposes- and you try to bring the two together.’ 

Mitchell Kapor


What is Design and Technology (D&T)?

Design and Technology is the study of design, structures, mechanisms, electrical control and a range of materials, including food. It encourages creativity and encourages children to think about important issues.


Why do we study Design and Technology (D&T)?

Design and technology is a practical and valuable subject. It enables children and young people to actively contribute to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of themselves, their community and their nation. It teaches how to take risks and so become more resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable. Students develop a critical understanding of the impact of design and technology on daily life and the wider world. Additionally, it provides excellent opportunities for pupils to develop and apply value judgements of an aesthetic, economic, moral, social, and technical nature, both in their own designing and when evaluating the work of others. It develops children’s skills and knowledge in design, structures, mechanisms, electrical control and a range of materials, including food. It encourages children's creativity and encourages them to think about important issues


The National curriculum states the purpose of studying D&T is:

Design and technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, 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.



Through their study of the Opossum D&T curriculum, we intend that pupils will:


1. Develop creativity, innovation, risk taking and resourcefulness

Pupils will develop their creativity and innovation by designing, creating and evaluating a range of products. They will learn to take risks in their designs, justifying their reasons for doing so. They will be able to develop their resourcefulness based on a set of design criteria and consider constraints such as: time, resources and cost.


2. Gain knowledge beyond their experience

Pupils will learn about structures, mechanisms, electrical systems, textiles and a range of materials, including food. They will be curious about how things work, leading to them wanting to find out more. They will learn about inventors, designers, engineers, chefs and manufacturers who have developed ground-breaking products, supporting them to become aspirational about their future careers.


3. Design, create and evaluate a range of products

Pupils will develop an enhanced ability to design, create and evaluate a range of products (their own and others). They will be able to produce designs based on their own criteria, taking into account the needs of the user and a variety of constraints such as time, resources and cost. They will accurately use a variety of materials, components and techniques for an intended purpose and be able to evaluate their effectiveness and impact.


4. Develop a critical understanding of design and technology and be able to access its impact on daily life

Pupils will learn how to critically evaluate their own and others' work, using a set of criteria. They will be able to discuss the impact of the materials and techniques used and offer improvements, based on their evaluations. Pupils will make changes based on their prior evaluations, resulting in enhanced designs and creations. 


5. Acquire technical vocabulary

Pupils will develop technical vocabulary and be able to use it in the correct contexts. This will enable their designs, creations and evaluations to be more coherent. Gaining an understanding of this language enables pupils to follow and interpret instructions, identify tools and materials and speak with common understanding about the works they are creating.


6. Develop and enhance problem-solving skills, solving real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts

Many innovative designs and products emerge in response to real problems and challenges faced in everyday life. Pupils will apply their repertoire of learnt skills and techniques to problems and challenges posed in the classroom and design possible solutions. During the creative process, review and evaluation will prompt pupils to identify improvements to create a more effective design. These skills are transferable and valued across all areas of the curriculum.


Opossum Values


Through their study of Design and Technology, Opossum values are realised.


Being Respectful - demonstrate respect for the viewpoints of others by listening courteously and debating respectfully

Being Aspirational – an expectation that pupils are capable of research, discussion, designing, creating and evaluating a range of products for an intended purpose

Being Caring – consider how people’s lives could be improved through innovative products and using design and technology skills to develop those ideas.

Having Integrity - seek truth by considering and critically analysing technical information

Being Creative – use creative skills to create new and improved products. Using creativity when evaluating past and present products

Being Community Minded – consider needs in the community and design/create products which will have a positive impact on the wider community.


Scope and sequence

The Opossum D&T curriculum fulfils and exceeds the requirements of the National Curriculum. Pupils receive a D&T curriculum which allows them to exercise their creativity through designing and creating. Pupils apply their designing and creating skills, based on their knowledge and understanding, in order to design and make a product. Skills are taught and practised progressively so that they are developed as pupils move through the school. Evaluation is an integral part of the design process, allowing pupils to adapt and improve their product; this is a key skill which they need throughout their life. D&T allows pupils to apply the knowledge and skills learned in other subjects, particularly Maths, Science and Art. Children’s interests are captured through thematic learning where inter-disciplinary links are made, creating motivation and meaning for their learning. All D&T studies follow the design, create and evaluate cycle. Each stage is rooted in technical knowledge, using real life, relevant contexts to give meaning to learning. While creating, pupils are given a choice and a range of tools to select. Pupils evaluate their own products against a design criteria. Children learn basic cooking skills within the scope of the curriculum.



Learning in the EYFS forms the bedrock of the D&T curriculum. The ‘Expressive Arts and Design’ area of the EYFS framework aligns closely with the D&T curriculum for KS1 and 2. Pupils learn a whole range of highly transferable skills, values and attributes (including: problem-solving, observation, collaboration, open-mindedness, courage, resilience, curiosity, integrity, and a sense of what is fair and equitable) that combine to allow them to develop the skills and knowledge required for accessing the KS1 D&T curriculum. During the Early Years Foundation Stage, the essential building blocks of children’s design and technology capability are established. There are many opportunities for carrying out D&T related activities in all areas of learning in the EYFS, particularly through the ‘Creating with Materials’ and ‘Fine Motor Skills’ Early Learning Goal indicators. By the end of the EYFS, most children are be able to:

  • Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function;
  • Share their creations, explaining the process they have used;
  • Make use of props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories
  • Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paint brushes and cutlery;


Provision in the EYFS is set up to ensure pupils have opportunities on a daily basis to design, create and evaluate a range of products, using both their knowledge and imagination. 



Learning in KS1 builds on EYFS experience. The cycle of ‘design, create and evaluate’ is formally introduced to pupils. When designing, they communicate their ideas verbally and by using simple drawings, making templates and prototypes. Pupils learn about basic mechanisms such as sliders and levers and wheels and axles. This forms the foundation for more complex mechanisms in KS2. They learn how to make basic freestanding structures and how to join materials together. When evaluating, pupils can make simple judgments and suggest improvements for their own and others' work. In food and nutrition, pupils learn how to prepare simple fruit and vegetables, without the use of a heat source. Pupils have the opportunity to complete two projects within each D&T domain, enabling them to act upon their evaluation to make improvements within their new designs. 



Learning in KS2 builds on the experience and knowledge gained at KS1. Pupils will begin to develop their own design criteria when designing and creating products. In UKS2, pupils generate innovative ideas, draw on research and make design decisions, which take into account a range of constraints such as, time, resources and cost. Pupils develop their knowledge of mechanisms by using levers and linkages and a range of cams to fit the intended purpose. Mechanical systems are introduced, building upon their knowledge in computing and science, using a range of circuits, switches, programming and control, pulleys and gears. They use a range of sewing stitches to join textiles together for a variety of different purposes. Throughout KS2 they develop their ability to critically evaluate the quality of their design, manufacture and fitness for purpose and their ability to evaluate their ideas and products against their original design specification. In food and nutrition, pupils learn to create a variety of products, using a range of cooking techniques and with the use of a heat source. They develop their knowledge of how to eat a healthy and varied diet. Pupils have the opportunity to complete two projects within each D&T domain; enabling them to act upon their evaluation to make improvements within their new designs. 


Key knowledge, skills and concepts within the D&T curriculum


The D&T curriculum has five key strands:

  • Designing: When designing, children need to understand the context they are working in, think about who their products will be for and decide what tasks they will perform. They need opportunities to generate, develop, model and communicate ideas in a variety of ways, including spoken language, drawings, templates, mock-ups, prototypes and pattern pieces.
  • Creating: When creating, children should select from a range of tools and equipment, explaining their choices. They also need opportunities to choose the materials and components they will use, thinking about their working characteristics. They should follow procedures for safety and hygiene and develop a repertoire of practical skills and techniques, working with increasing accuracy.
  • Evaluating: When evaluating, children should make increasingly sophisticated judgements about their own ideas and products against design criteria. They should consider the views of others in order to improve their work. They should also investigate and evaluate existing products using a variety of questioning techniques and, in KS2, learn about important inventors and their inventions.
  • Technical Knowledge: Technical knowledge is the body of knowledge and understanding that is specific to design and technology that needs to be developed and then applied when children are designing, making and evaluating products.
  • Cooking and Nutrition:  Cooking and nutrition provides opportunities for children to learn about where food comes from, how food is grown, reared or caught and the effect of seasonality on the availability of food. They also learn about the principles of healthy eating and how to prepare and cook dishes safely and hygienically using a range of techniques.