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Design & Technology

Design & Technology Curriculum Design

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. Steve Jobs

At Thorpe Willoughby CP School, we recognise that children develop many skills when engaging in Design Technology activities including creativity, problem-solving, planning, and evaluation skills. We also recognise and value this subject as an opportunity to develop children’s communication and team-work skills when they work collaboratively with peers, designers and the wider industry.


Through the process of designing and making projects within our curriculum, we intend that children work within a range of relevant contexts. We have carefully designed our new curriculum to support this through our half-termly themes such as ‘Healthy Body, Healthy Mind’, ‘Building our Future’ and ‘One Person can Change the World’ to inspire and promote cooking, nutrition, design and technology. Our themes have been designed to create an engaging, inspiring and challenging curriculum, allowing children to immerse themselves through innovative, practical and entrepreneurial projects and solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts.


Our curriculum is intended to not only equip our children with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own products including cooking, but to allow them to experience the processes that ‘real’ designers and cooks undertake. Through our themes, children will be given opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and understanding and engage children in processes of researching, designing and making products and nutritious dishes they feel inspired by and proud of.


As children progress, we want them to think critically and develop a deeper understanding of Design Technology. We want them to feel more confident at being innovative and taking risks with product design. We recognise this as a subject that encourages children to develop the growth mindset that not being successful with designs and products at first is actually a real sign of success and a process of evaluation and review with resilience that will support their learning, achievements and outcomes. We intend that they recognise this through the works of others both in history and in the present day. Through teaching about significant people, places and events in the world of Design & Food, our children will understand the process is as important as the final product. 


We recognise through our Design & Technology curriculum that subject-specific vocabulary is important for children to engage in the process of designing, making and cooking. This will also support their knowledge and understanding of the subject and themes. When planning our themes, the vocabulary required to succeed is identified, planned and modelled within our lessons.


We intend that our Design & Technology curriculum demonstrates our school values and gives our children opportunities to live and practise our 6 values through engaging with all aspects of Design Technology.

What Design & Technology Looks Like at Thorpe Willoughby

In our Foundation Stage, we teach Reception-aged children Design & Technology through the EYFS Statutory Framework and the Development Matters non-statutory guidance. Physical Development is one of the four specific areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and is used to develop a child's fine and gross motor experiences. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and practise using small tools allow children to develop proficiency, control & confidence. We ensure our curriculum and provision areas encourage children to explore a range of materials, tools and techniques, whilst problem-solving.


Our Key Stage 1 & 2 Design & Technology curriculum is developed around the Primary National Curriculum, England. Design & Technology skills are explicitly taught through our half-termly themes. For example in Key Stage 1, the theme ‘Boom, Bang and Bash’, children will design and make a vehicle to put out a fire. Our theme, ‘Healthy Body, Healthy Mind’, for Lower Key Stage 2 focuses on designing and making a healthy packed lunch. In Upper Key Stage 2, our ‘One Person can Change the World’ theme gives children opportunities to design and make an alarmed product, inspired by our whole class novel Stormbreaker.


We have a clear plan for progression to ensure our curriculum builds and develops children’s skills in Design Technology.


Within our Design & Technology Curriculum, we ensure:

  • Our curriculum planning follows the definition of Design & Technology. We design and make       something for someone, for some purpose (the 3 Ss).
  • Children in our EYFS will experience a wide variety of learning opportunities and provision that will enable them to safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, whilst solving problems for ‘real life’ situations.
  • Children in Key Stage 1 will study 5 units of D&T across the phase and KS2 will study a minimum of 3 units of Design & Technology each year including Textiles and Cooking & Nutrition.
  • Each of our Design & Technology projects offer children opportunities to learn through investigative and evaluative activities, focused tasks as well as design, make and evaluate assignments.
  • When planning our Design & Technology projects, we follow the following 6 key principles: user, purpose, functionality, design decisions, innovation and authenticity.
  • Children learn about the achievements of significant designers and cooks from around the world and through history to the modern day, for example: Thomas Edison, Jamie Oliver and Mary Anderson.
  • Children learn about significant events and places that have shaped the world of design technology e.g. the  invention of velcro
  • As part of our 50 Things to do before you leave Thorpe, all children will grow food from seeds during their time at Thorpe Willoughby CP School.

Design Technology - Whole School Overview

Design and Technology - Progression