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Design and Technology



St Michael’s Design and Technology Executive Summary


Design and Technology Vision

Our vision is for all pupils to be engaged and inspired by design and technology. We want our pupils to become creative, resourceful, innovative and enterprising thinkers who have an appreciation for the product design cycle through ideation, creation and evaluation.  


Our vision is for pupils to develop the technical and practical knowledge needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to be able to design and create high-quality products both now and in the future. We want our pupils to understand the principles of nutrition and to learn how to cook.


Through our curriculum, we aim to build an awareness of the impact of design and technology on our lives and encourage pupils to aspire to contribute to future design advancements. We want our pupils to have the disciplinary knowledge of the subject which enables them to evaluate their own and others’ products.

We want pupils to leave St Michael’s School equipped with a range of skills to enable them to succeed in their secondary education and be innovative and resourceful members of society.


(See Curriculum Driver 2: Learning Skills – Attitude and Aspiration and Curriculum Driver 4: Exploration – Adventure and Discovery).


The St Michael’s vision for Design and Technology is achieved by:

  • A curriculum which maps out the practical knowledge and skills pupils need to design and make products with increasing proficiency, in the areas of mechanisms, structures, textiles, cooking and nutrition and electrical systems (KS2 only)
  • A curriculum which builds progressively on pupils’ technical knowledge of how products work
  • A curriculum which provides the disciplinary knowledge and vocabulary which helps pupils to evaluate their own and others’ products
  • A curriculum which provides opportunities for pupils to use their practical, technical and disciplinary knowledge and the interplay between these domains to generate their own ideas, create their own products and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world


Implementation of the Design and Technology Vision

At St Michael’s, we have chosen to follow the Kapow Design and Technology scheme of work because it offers a clear programme of study which meets our vision and enables pupils to meet the National Curriculum end of key stage attainment targets. The scheme gives pupils the opportunity to make their own creative choices and decisions, so that their design outcomes, whilst still being knowledge-rich, are unique to the pupil and personal.

The scheme of work organises the Design and Technology attainment targets under five strands, with a clear progression of skills and knowledge within these five strands across each year group:

  • Design
  • Make
  • Evaluate
  • Technical knowledge
  • Cooking and Nutrition

Pupils develop their skills in five key areas:

  • Mechanisms
  • Structures
  • Textiles
  • Cooking and Nutrition (Food)
  • Electrical systems (KS2)

(NB - We have chosen to teach the area of Digital World within the Computing Curriculum in Key Stage 2)

Each area follows the design process (design, make and evaluate) and has a particular theme and focus from the technical knowledge or cooking and nutrition section of the curriculum. The scheme is a spiral curriculum, with key areas revisited again and again with increasing complexity, allowing pupils to revisit and build on their previous learning. This is in line with all other St Michael’s subjects. Progression of vocabulary can be seen in ‘Building Blocks of Vocabulary in Design and Technology).


Design and Technology in Early Years Foundation Stage

‘Expressive art and design’ is a specific area of learning and development in the EYFS curriculum. At St Michael’s, children’s learning in Design and Technology is outlined in ‘EYFS Design and Technology Long Term Plan’. The St Michael’s Design and Technology Curriculum helps Reception children to work towards the early learning goals, but also provides the foundations for future learning in Design and Technology.

The children are taught four Design and Technology areas in line with the rest of the school. In ‘Junk Modelling’, children are given the opportunity to learn about various types of permanent and temporary joins and can then explore these for themselves in the junk modelling area. In ‘Cooking and Nutrition’ children use their senses to explore the differences between fruits and vegetables. They talk about the key ingredients used in the story ‘The best pumpkin soup’ before developing a class-based vegetable soup recipe. Pupils develop their fine motor skills through threading and weaving and then design and sew their own bookmarks as part of the school’s Victorian Week. Linked with their learning in science, children explore what is meant by ‘waterproof’, ‘floating’ and sinking’ before making predictions and experimenting with various materials. In the unit, ‘Structures: Boats’ they learn about the different features of boats and ships and then have the opportunity to build their own structures. Children enjoy design and technology activities throughout the year, particularly when celebrating festivals.


In line with the rest of the school, the Reception Design and Technology medium term plans and short term plans are taken from the Kapow scheme of work.


Children have the opportunity to explore Design and Technology during Child Initiated Learning, as well as through direct teaching. During Child Initiated Learning, Design Technology in the Early Years is developed through firsthand experiences, applying the knowledge gained through adult led learning. Children need the space and time to explore, talk about, make decisions, solve problems, and think critically. They create temporary and permanent models, both independently and collaboratively. 


Design and Technology in Key stage 1 and 2

In Key Stages 1 and 2, all classes cover one unit of Design and Technology each term. These units are outlined in the long term plan. These plans include the key vocabulary that pupils will meet during each unit studied that year, as well as opportunities for cross-curricular links.


Each Design and Technology unit is informed by a medium term plan which outlines the practical, technical and disciplinary knowledge the pupils will learn, the National Curriculum coverage, prior learning, indented outcomes and end points of learning including assessment criteria. Each unit has a knowledge organizer, a single page which gives key facts and definitions from the unit.


The short term plans include:

  • Clear learning objectives
  • Success criteria
  • ‘Recap and recall’ to remind pupils of previous learning
  • ‘Attention grabber’ to engage the pupils
  • Presentation and main teaching and learning activities
  • Plenary
  • Background information to support teachers’ subject knowledge
  • Assessment information – progress and understanding
  • Key vocabulary definitions
  • Example work


Forest School

Each year, two of the units for each cohort in Key Stages 1 and 2 are taught in the Forest School. As well as giving the pupils the opportunity to work outdoors, these experiences provide a real-life context for their learning.


Pupils have the opportunity to make a fire to cook their own food. They are provided with a clear purpose and motivation to learn a range of practical skills such as sawing and tying knots.


The sessions are taught by a specially trained Forest School teacher (Reception Class Teacher), who works with all classes each year and can therefore ensure that skills are built progressively across the primary school journey.


Children in Reception Class have a weekly session in the Forest throughout the year during which they have further opportunities to explore their class learning in the natural environment.


Measuring the Impact of the Design and Technology Vision and Implementation


Expected impact


Pupils will:

  • Understand the functional and aesthetic properties of a range of materials and resources
  • Understand how to use and combine tools to carry out different processes for shaping, decorating, and manufacturing products
  • Build and apply a repertoire of practical and technical knowledge to produce high quality, innovative outcomes, including models, prototypes, and products to fulfil the needs of users, clients, and scenarios
  • Understand and apply the principles of healthy eating, diets, and recipes, including key process, food groups and cooking equipment
  • Have an appreciation for key individuals, inventions and events in history and of today that impact our world
  • Recognise where our decisions can impact the wider world in terms of community, social and environmental issues
  • Self-evaluate and reflect on learning at different stages and identify areas to improve
  • Meet the end of key stage expectations outlined in the National Curriculum for Design and Technology


Formative Assessment

The curriculum is designed in such a way that children are involved in the evaluation, dialogue and decision making about the quality of their outcomes and the improvements they need to make. These discussions help children to talk about their own learning journey and have an understanding of how to improve. This links closely with the St Michael’s Curriculum Driver 2 ‘Learning skills’: Aspiration and Attitude. Observations of pupil progress within each lesson are used to plan subsequent teaching, including targeted support and opportunities for working at greater depth. Knowledge organisers are used in each unit to support assessment.


Summative assessment

Summative assessments are made twice each year (February and June) based on the progression of skills and intended outcomes for each unit.



Subject leader monitors provision in Design and Technology through:

  • observations and learning walks
  • teacher/subject leader discussions
  • pupil voice activities
  • an annual 'deep dive' in Design and Technology with the senior leadership team


Subject Leader Action Plan

Monitoring activities and an analysis of attainment and progress are used to formulate the subject leader action plan which is updated twice each year.



The Design and Technology Curriculum at St Michael’s is enriched through the twice yearly opportunities to work in Forest School


Continuing Professional Development

EYFS Leader receives updates on latest research on the teaching of Knowledge and Understanding of the World through association with Herts for Learning.


The Kapow scheme of work incorporates a wide range of teaching videos which support non-specialist Design and Technology teachers to improve their subject knowledge and therefore teach with greater confidence and impact on pupil outcomes.


Subject Leader meets termly with other Design and Technology Subject Leaders in the St Albans Consortium of Schools Subject Cluster Groups to share ideas and good practice.


The Senior Leadership team has regard to any Ofsted subject specific reports or reviews when monitoring provision in Design and Technology at St Michael’s. Key messages are shared with staff and practice is adapted to reflect the most recent research.


The Design and Technology Executive Summary is reviewed annually.

Latest revision: February 2024

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