St Mary's RC Primary School, ManchesterSt Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School

St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School

Design & Technology

Children learn best when they can see links and have reasons for learning. Our curriculum promotes enjoyment of learning through debate, creativity, purpose and relevance. We hope that pupils are motivated by achievement both now and in the future and have a positive attitude towards themselves, others and their environment.

Details on topics for each year group can be found on the class pages.

Intent: Why we teach Design and Technology

 It is our intention at St. Mary’s to develop a challenging curriculum that enables children to build a broad range of subject knowledge and skills which can be applied in a wide variety of situations. Our aim is to inspire children and provide them with skills for life. Pupils will be encouraged to solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts to fully equip them with the necessary skills for life.

Pupils will use their own creativity and imagination, to design and produce their own products, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. Projects within Design and Technology will incorporate other disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art.

Through these projects, pupils will learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the critical analysis and 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. We aim to prepare our pupils for the rapidly evolving world so they are equipped to adapt and adjust the skills they have acquired.

Our Design and Technology curriculum is based on an adapted model of the Early Years Framework and the National Curriculum. Progression documents have been introduced in order to build on the skills needed to meet the end of Key Stage objectives in the National Curriculum. Our long term plan is broad and balanced, allowing children to gain an opportunity to practise and experience a wide range of skills and opportunities.

The key skills we aim to embed are :

  • To develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world.
  • To 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
  • The ability to critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others
  • To understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.

In the Foundation Stage and throughout Key Stage 1, we focus on the basic skills, exploring and understanding how things work and inspiring the children to have inquisitive personalities. 

Throughout Key Stage 2, our aim is to facilitate children’s enjoyment of the subject, encourage them to make decisions, develop their independence, undertake projects in a variety of contexts and ultimately, help them to become independent problem solvers with an enthusiasm and curiosity to explore further.

Central to this is giving children plenty of opportunities to build upon prior knowledge, allowing them to know more, commit that knowledge to their long term memory and to be able to retrieve it at the appropriate time. A core element is teaching the children to understand that improvement only comes through asking questions of themselves and taking risks; mistakes and apparent failures are the building blocks of improvement and should be appreciated and explored.

Implementation: How we teach Design and Technology

The Design and Technology curriculum is taught through a Progressive School Curriculum Document (PSCD), which is in line with the EYFS Statutory Framework (PD and EAD) and National Curriculum. This is used to aid teaching staff in their subject knowledge, organisation and delivery.  

We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children.

Through a variety of creative and practical activities, we teach the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making. All teaching of D&T should follow the design, make and evaluate cycle. Each stage should be rooted in technical knowledge. The design process should be rooted in real life, with relevant contexts to give meaning to learning. The children will consider function and purpose and relate this to the context in which it will be used. While making, children should be given choice and a range of tools from which to choose freely. To evaluate, children should be able to assess and critique their own products against a design criteria. Each of these steps should be focused on technical knowledge and vocabulary.

Key skills and key knowledge for Design and Technology have been mapped across the school to ensure progression between year groups. The context for the children’s work in Design and Technology is also well considered and children learn about real life structures and the purpose of specific examples, as well as developing their skills throughout the programme of study.

The key skills we teach the children are: sewing and textile, cooking and nutrition, electrical and mechanical components and using a range of materials.

D&T is usually taught in short blocks. Each class completes one project per term which links to their topic. Every lesson builds upon previous skills and allows focused time for these to become embedded and to give the opportunity to retrieve information already taught and apply it to the new learning. Year 6 have a cooking club during which they make food for the parishioners who attend Thursday lunch club.

When designing and making, pupils should be taught to:

  • Design
    • use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, and aimed at particular individuals or groups
    • generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design
  • Make
    • select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing], accurately
    • select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities
  • Evaluate
    • investigate and analyse a range of existing products
    • evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work
    • understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world
  • Technical knowledge
    • apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures
    • understand and use mechanical systems in their products [for example, gears, pulleys, cams, levers and linkages]
    • understand and use electrical systems in their products [for example, series circuits incorporating switches, bulbs, buzzers and motors]
    • apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products

Cooking and nutrition

As part of their work with food, pupils should be taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Instilling a love of cooking in pupils will also open a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables pupils to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life.

 Pupils should be taught to:

  • Key stage 1 :
    • use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes
    • understand where food comes from.
  • Key stage 2:
    • understand and apply the principles of a healthy and varied diet
    • prepare and cook a variety of predominantly savoury dishes using a range of cooking techniques
    • understand seasonality, and know where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.

How does St. Mary’s curriculum meet the needs of the children at our school?

Religious Values

The teachings of Jesus are central to every aspect of our learning, so we:

·          Must nurture their physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing by recognising and developing their God-given talents to their full potential. 

·         Value the unique nature of every child by teaching them to respect and care for the wonder that is their human body (E.g. healthy diet, exercise, etc.).

Key life skills for learning

Provide a curriculum  that will equip children with the values, skills and attributes needed to be independent thinkers and courageous learners, so we:

·         Provide children with opportunities to co-operate, reflect, work independently, be inventive, show resilience, problem solve and show curiosity.

·         Understand that skills and concepts acquired through Design and Technology units are not exclusive to that sole purpose but can be applied holistically to all aspects of life and other areas of the curriculum.

·         Allow children to further develop an inquisitive demeaner and understand improvement is something that can be acquired through hard work, reflection and perseverance .

Opportunities to embrace cultural capital is part of our school ethos, so we:


·         Seek to be inspired by innovators.

·         Celebrate and embrace different backgrounds, heritage, language and traditions by exploring the cuisines of diverse cultures.

·         Learn about technological advances.


Impact : What Design and Technology gives to our children

Through our Design and Technology curriculum we aim to ensure the children develop the creative, technical and practical expertise to perform everyday tasks and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world. We aim to give children a positive attitude to learning and the tools required to work independently. Pupils will gain the ability to use time effectively, working within a given time frame and work constructively both on their own and in partnership with others.

Pupils will become confident at undertaking thorough research, showing initiative and be able to ask questions to expanded their knowledge and understand the needs of the intended users of the product.

Pupils will 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 and critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others. They will gain the ability to act as designers and makers, selecting their own materials and making informed choices. Through the progression of skills, by year 6, our pupils will have a thorough knowledge of which skills, equipment and materials are required and be able to use them safely.

The aim during our cooking and nutrition lessons are to provide children with the knowledge of food so they can make informed choices. They will have built up the skills required throughout their time in our school to be able to create simple, healthy dishes which inspires them to continue to develop these skills and become more adventurous with their food choices.

Assessments are based on teacher judgement, whereby, in each session, any children who are not meeting lesson objectives, and those who are exceeding and performing at a higher level are recorded and targeted for future support in subsequent lessons. These weekly assessments will not only inform future sessions but will also provide a half termly overview of children’s progress within their year groups expected outcomes.

In the EYFS observations are recorded in the children’s personalised online learning journey- Tapestry. Pupils are assessed within EAD as well as PD. Progress is tracked and age related expectations are reported to parents at the end of the year. Pupil Voice plays an important role in the children’s enjoyment, engagement and development and crucially, within a lesson, children are given time to reflect on their learning and take part in self, peer and group feedback. We have fostered excellent relationships with local sports clubs and have the ability to signpost children who enjoy or have a particular aptitude in a specific sport to the appropriate club. This allows them to take to take a certain skill or interest beyond the classroom.

Future Plans: What Comes Next?

A future aim is to establish a St. Mary’s DT Council at the beginning of each year, who can choose after school activities that they would like the school to provide. Clubs will be run by teachers throughout the school on a rota system and will be changed once per half term to ensure fairness and that workload demands do not become too great for any members of staff. Each club will cater for a range of ages and abilities and will run once a week over the six half terms.

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