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Design & Technology

Design & Technology

What is our curriculum and intention?

The Design & Technology curriculum is an inclusive curriculum where all students are challenged, supported and taught to the top. Students develop the skills to become creative and independent problem-solvers. Our students experience, and engage in, a wide range of creative and technical processes which are carefully sequenced to build skill over time. We aim to challenge misconceptions around the subject and subsequent careers and to provide an environment where all students are challenged and supported to achieve their very best. Students are supported in their development of literacy skills by providing opportunities for developing reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Overall, we aim to prepare students for life outside of school and beyond education, equipping them with the tools necessary for them to reach their full potential, regardless of ability.


What is our learning journey?

Our Curriculum is a five year ‘Learning Journey’ which aims to build practical skills and technical knowledge.

At Key Stage 3 D&T, our topics develop skills such as health and safety awareness and understanding; designing through sketching and more technical methods; developing creative and critical thinking and fine motor skills through an iterative process of modelling using various materials; choosing and using the correct hand tools; using machinery safely and independently; CAD and CAM use; being able to analyse and evaluate their own work.

At Key Stage 3 in Food, our topics allow students to experience cooking for pleasure, and essential culinary skills such as food safety; kitchen hygiene; ingredient preparation; measuring; and following recipes. They also begin to understand the importance of nutrition, taste, and presentation in cooking.

The years are sequenced to ensure that, as students' progress through KS3, they are continuously and consistently developing key skills and knowledge, providing them with a strong basis for further study at KS4 and beyond. Within each year, units of work are sequenced to further support the development of skills and knowledge. There are clear links between units of work within year groups and across the key stage to cement prior learning and prepare for future learning. These aide the development of schemas (generative learning) which improves and assists retention. This can also be seen through the assessments which increase in complexity, developing skills and knowledge simultaneously.

At Key Stage 4 in Design & Technology and Hospitality & Catering, we follow the Eduqas specifications. Units have been sequenced to reinforce prior learning from KS3 but also to ensure that more complex skills and technical knowledge are taught later in the course when skills and knowledge have been substantially developed. In D&T, Year 10 begin with a ‘Mini NEA’, developing the basic understanding and skills required for the NEA but on a set context which further develops the understanding of empathy in design. Technical knowledge, blended with some practical experiments, then follow. This allows students to increase skills and knowledge to produce more secure outcomes.

Each unit of work in KS3 and KS4 have key vocabulary (tier 2) and subject specific terminology (tier 3) attached to them. These are embedded in lessons and through student responses.


Design & Technology Learning Journey

Why this? Why now? Why have we sequenced our curriculum this way?

At KS3, we follow a programme that carefully builds on prior knowledge and skills. KS3 is not designed to merely be a prequel to GCSE, rather it builds on the foundations established at KS2 to develop learners in all aspects of their Design & Technology education. Strengthening the foundations and building, and revisiting, skills over time aims to embed key knowledge to success.

At KS4, skills and knowledge continue to be developed to allow for greater independent thinking and allow students to design and make products, both in Design & Technology and Hospitality & Catering, which demonstrate skill and challenge.


What will you typically see in our Design & Technology lessons?

Long-term learning: Students to be made aware of the significance of this unit of work and specific lessons in relation to prior and future learning. Students are prompted to make links between prior key knowledge and skills in this scheme and those they have already studied.

Checking for understanding and mark making (ACMO): Comprehension questions; think, pair, share; cold call; questioning; class discussion; mini whiteboards with a 3, 2, 1 reveal. All pupils are subject to rigorous checking of their learning and supported to close any gaps they have in knowledge and skills by teachers’ effective formative assessment of their progress.

Live modelling and guided practice: I Do (a metacognitive approach), We Do (under the visualiser, on the board or practical demonstration), You Do (independent work with scaffolding); exploration, assessment and deconstruction of effective and ineffective model answers.

Explicit teaching of vocabulary: I say, you say; exploring the root and etymology of specific words; using key vocabulary within sentences; using key vocabulary in different formations and contexts; deliberate teaching of tier 2 and 3 vocabularies.

Teaching to the top: All lessons included in the schemes are designed to stretch and challenge students with appropriate adaptation to secure the best outcomes.

Retrieval practice and recall: Low-stakes quizzes; mini whiteboards with a 3, 2, 1 reveal; Do Now tasks.


How do we assess progress in our subject?

At Key Stage 3, formative assessment is an ongoing process and enabled through effective use of ACMO (mark making). Additionally, students are assessed on design skills, practical skills and knowledge and more formal elements such as written specifications and evaluative skills.

At Key Stage 4, formative assessment is vital is supporting students to make progress within the lesson. ACMO (mark making) is used to inform teachers of students understanding, informing of areas of success and reteach opportunities. In addition, students are assessed at the end of each unit of work following the assessment criteria for GCSE; students are then encouraged to develop their knowledge and skills, responding to teacher feedback. As the Key Stage develops, students work through a series of technical knowledge topics, developing their ability to approach exam questions successfully through scaffolding question analysis. In the summer of Year 10, students will commence the NEA (Non-Examined Assessment). The practical skills and technical knowledge that have been harnessed throughout their learning journey will enable them to investigate a given context and apply both problem-finding, and creative problem-solving skills to design and manufacture a prototype which aims to solve a real problem.


How do we extend and enrich our curriculum?

Investigation and design homework is set at Key Stage 3, aiming to embed a sense of curiosity of the design world and its influences. At Key Stage 4, homework is set through Seneca Learning to enhance and develop their knowledge and skills. Additionally, in Key Stage 4, students utilise a variety of sources for homework, which also include past exam papers and revision guides.

Students are encouraged to attend clubs, with Young Engineers Club and Fashion Factory running weekly with success. We are passionate in our quest to find opportunities to be involved in events and competitions which may arise during the academic year.

From September students will be given the opportunity to visit:

  • Equal Engineers Technology & Engineering Careers Day at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • IET Faraday Challenge
  • Engineering Day at UCLan, Preston
  • Raising Robots – Robotics Challenge
  • Schools Sustainability Conference, BRFC
  • Race to the Line Regional and National Competitions
  • National Festival of Making, Blackburn


How does our subject relate to further education and careers?

Design & Technology can lead on to a vast array of further study at A-Level, T Level and degree level such as Engineering, Craft & Design, Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Interior Design and Architecture.


If you would like more information about the Design & Technology curriculum, please contact the Head of Department, Miss L Morris via email: