Design Technology

Subject leader

Miss Lycett is responsible for D.T.. This means ensuring there is an ambitious curriculum set, supporting teachers to implement it through high-quality lessons and checking that everything is helping children to know more, remember more and do more.

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Purpose of Study

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.


The National Curriculum - DT key stages 1 to 2

  • 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 and learn how to cook.

Oakfield's Approach


We are setting out to help our pupils be ...

  • Safe - Tools and materials can help achieve designs, but using them safely is a priority.

  • Creative - Pupils should enjoy the process of designing and building prototypes, finding creative ways to solve problems.

  • Reflective - Learning how to make things better, and celebrating the success of themselves and others.


We will do this by ensuring ...

  • Children are taught to keep themselves safe when using 'grown-up' equipment.

  • Children have meaningful opportunities to apply their skills and design products for a purpose.

  • Reflection is modelled and is integral to the design phase, therefore helping pupils to get better.


We will have made a difference when ...

  • All pupils are safe - they demonstrate how to use equipment carefully, helping to keep themselves and others safe.

  • Children design, make, build and cook well, they have the skills to achieve their designs and do with increasing independence.

  • Children can critique their outcomes, offering useful suggestions for improvement and building on these to improve their designs.

Threshold Concepts

These are our big takeaways called ‘threshold concepts’ - an overview of what we want pupils to know. They are the same for every year group and help us to ensure we build learning on the same ideas, that way we help children to be able to remember more meaningful connections rather than remembering isolated facts.

  1. Everyday products - Everyday products are objects that are used routinely at home and school.

  2. Staying Safe - It is important to stay safe when working with tools. Products have to be safe for others to use.

  3. Electricity - Electricity is a form of energy, it can be used in a model and controlled using a switch.

  4. Mechanisms - Mechanisms help to make things move.

  5. Generation of ideas - Before making, it is important to know what you want to achieve.

  6. Use of ICT - Computer-aided design (CAD) is when computers are used to help design products.

  7. Structures - Different materials can be used to make structures stronger.

  8. Investigation - Great designers try to find the best tool for the job.

  9. Evaluation - To make improvements, it is important to find out what has worked well and what could be better.

  10. Materials for Purposes - Different materials are suitable for different purposes, depending on their properties.

  11. Cooking - We use skills such as measuring and follow instructions called recipes to make sweet and savoury dishes.

  12. Nutrition - There are different types of food that our body needs to stay healthy.

  13. Origins of Food - Food can be grown or can come from animals. We often eat food that comes from around the world.

  14. Compare & Contrast - Designers often look at what is the same and what is different between products.

  15. Significant People - Because of the work of many important designers, the way we live our lives has changed.

Progression on a Page ...

Here is an overview of what we expect children to be taught, know and do by the end of each year group.

In Year R ... Children will be taught to ...

  • Name and explore a range of everyday products and begin to talk about how they are used.

  • Follow rules and instructions to keep safe.

  • Identify products that use electricity to make them work.

  • Explore, build and play with a range of resources and construction kits with wheels and axles.

  • Create collaboratively, share ideas and use a variety of resources to make products inspired by existing products, stories or their own ideas, interests or experiences.

  • Use digital devices to take digital images or recordings of their creations to share with others.

  • Construct simple structures and models using a range of materials.

  • Choose and explore appropriate tools for simple practical tasks.

  • Adapt and refine their work as they are constructing and making.

  • Recognise that it is possible to change and alter their designs and ideas as they are making them.

  • Select appropriate materials when constructing and making.

  • Follow instructions, including simple recipes, that include measures and ingredients.

  • Suggest healthy ingredients that can be used to make simple snacks.

  • Begin to identify the origins of some foods.

Year 1

  • Children should know that everyday products are objects that are used routinely at home and school.

  • They will understand that rules are made to keep people safe from danger.

  • Electricity is a form of energy.

  • An axle is a rod or spindle that passes through the centre of a wheel to connect two wheels.

  • Design criteria are the explicit goals that a project must achieve.

  • They will understand that a strength is a good quality of a piece of work. A weakness is an area that could be improved.

Year 2

  • Children should know that products can be improved in different ways.

  • They will know that hygiene rules include washing hands before handling food, cleaning surfaces, tying long hair back, storing food appropriately and wiping up spills.

  • They will learn that a series circuit is made up of an energy source.

  • A mechanism is a device that takes one type of motion or force and produces a different one.

  • Ideas can be communicated in a variety of ways, and finished products can be compared with design criteria to see how closely they match. Improvements can then be planned.

Year 3

  • Children will learn that particular products have been designed for specific tasks.

  • They will know that safety rules must also be followed when using electricity.

  • An electric circuit can be used in a model.

  • Levers consist of a rigid bar that rotates around a fixed point, called a fulcrum.

  • They will understand that design criteria are the exact goals a project must achieve to be successful.

  • They will learn that asking questions can help others to evaluate their products.

Year 4

  • Children will learn that design features are the aspects of a product's design that the designer would like to emphasise.

  • They will learn to take appropriate safety precautions, such as wearing goggles and gloves, working in a well-ventilated room, wiping up spills and tying back long hair.

  • They will know that components can be added to circuits to achieve a particular goal.

  • Mechanisms can be used to add functionality to a model.

  • Annotated sketches and exploded diagrams show specific parts of a design.

  • Evaluation can be done by considering whether the product does what it was designed to do, whether it has an attractive appearance, what changes were made during the making process and why the changes were made.

Year 5

  • Children will learn that culture affects the design of some products.

  • They will know that safety features are often incorporated into products that might cause harm.

  • Electrical circuits can be controlled by a simple on/off switch, Pneumatic systems use energy that is stored in compressed air to do work.

  • A pattern piece is a drawing or shape used to guide how to make something.

  • They will understand that testing a product against the design criteria will highlight anything that needs improvement or redesign.

Year 6

  • Children will learn that people's lives have been improved in countless ways due to new inventions and designs.

  • They will understand that the safety of the user has to be taken into account when designing a new product.

  • Computer programs can control electrical circuits. Mechanical systems can include sliders, levers, linkages, gears, pulleys and cams. Design criteria should cover the intended use of the product, age range targeted and final appearance.

  • Design is an iterative process, meaning alterations and improvements are made continually throughout the manufacturing process.

  • They will know that evaluating a product while it's being manufactured, and explaining these evaluations to others, can help to refine it.

Detailed Progression in Design Technology

1e - Threshold Concepts - DT.pdf