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St Mary's Catholic Primary School

St Mary's Catholic
Primary School

Design Technology

DT Curriculum

What DT Looks Like in our School


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


At St Mary’s, our Design and Technology curriculum is built around the principles of evidence led practice. This is to ensure that pupils are equipped to successfully think, work and communicate like a designer. Unapologetically ambitious, the curriculum focuses on excellence in this subject through a range of disciplines and by referencing outstanding practitioners in this field.

Our intention is that exceptional teacher instruction inspires pupils to acquire knowledge as designers and technologists and enables them to skilfully apply their understanding.


The Design and Technology curriculum is organised into blocks with each block covering a particular set of disciplines, including food and nutrition, mechanisms, structures, systems, electrical systems, understanding materials and textiles. Vertical progression in each discipline has been deliberately woven into the curriculum so that pupils revisit key disciplines throughout their primary journey at increasing degrees of challenge and complexity.

In addition to the core knowledge required to be successful within each discipline, the curriculum outlines key aspects of development in the Working as a Designer section (design, make evaluate and apply). Each module will focus on promoting different aspects of these competencies. This will support teachers in understanding pupils progress as designers more broadly, as well as how successfully they are acquiring the taught knowledge and skills.

Central to the learning modules are activities designed to develop pupils’ oracy and vocabulary skills to enable them to use the language associated with design and technology meaningfully when talking about their work and the work of others.


Pupils will be excited to explore new things. They will be creative thinkers who have the knowledge and skills to be able to design, make, investigate and explore why things work. Pupils will have the vocabulary to talk about how and why things work and the confidence to explore possible solutions to Design and Technology questions and problems.

 This is what we do:

DT is taught in every half term from Year 1 – 6, in blocks of three week units. Children study a variety of disciplines: textiles, food and nutrition, mechanisms, structures, understanding materials and systems (electrical systems). In EYFS, child cover similar disciplines at an age-appropriate level. In every unit, children will design, make, evaluate and apply skills.

This is what you might typically see:

Children using ambitious vocabulary and making links between aspects of their learning. A range of modelled, guided and independent practice. Children using knowledge notes to support their learning.

What a DT lesson looks like in our school:

Each lesson begins by revisiting prior learning. The knowledge note for the unit is introduced in the first lesson and the question for the unit is explored. Children then experience a range of activities in order to explore the question, over the course of the 3-week unit. Lessons will include demonstration, guided learning and independent practice. Children are encouraged to refer to knowledge notes throughout their lessons. Children are taught knowledge and skills and supported to reflect on their learning to evaluate and refine their thinking.

Every lesson must include:

A unit question to guide the learning, modelled, guided and independent practice.

This is how we know how well our pupils are doing:

The best form of assessment in design and technology is at the point of delivery, while pupils are working. This helps us to understand pupils’ development as designers, rather than their ability to produce a prescribed end outcome. By encouraging pupils to articulate their thinking and reflections, we can understand which aspects of design and technology may require additional teaching and reshape teaching to support this.

This is how we support pupils:

Adjustments will be made for children needing extra support. This may be in the form of adapted resources, small group adult support or additional scaffolding. Pupils with language and communication difficulties may need additional visual prompts to help them understand what is expected of them. The task could be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Pupils who have difficulties with tasks requiring fine motor skills may need appropriate adjustments to be make to enable them to access the task.