Design and Technology

What Design and Technology means at St Thomas…

DT is exploring mechanisms and making objects that have a purpose. It is designing innovative products that have a user in mind.

Design and Technology at St Thomas

At St Thomas of Canterbury, Design and Technology inspires children to use their imagination and creativity to solve real and relevant problems in a variety of contexts. They apply their skills from other disciplines such as Mathematics, Computing, Science and Art. Design and Technology involves the pupils in developing skills of analysis, planning, designing, making and doing, and evaluating what they have produced. We aim for pupils to learn to take risks and to become resourceful, innovative and enterprising. Children are taught skills systematically and made aware of how to use resources safely. Children evaluate their own work and that of others including major designers. One very important part of the National Curriculum is a the focus on cooking and nutrition and understanding where our food comes from.

Key Stage 1

Pupils are taught to design functional and appealing products based on specific criteria. They make their designs using a wide range of tools and equipment. Pupils explore and evaluate products and make references to their own products. They develop their technical knowledge of different mechanisms and techniques to improve their work.

All children develop skills in food technology and an understanding of where food comes from and its nutritional value.

Key Stage 2

Pupils build on their knowledge and skills developed in Key stage 1. They research and develop their own criteria for products and plan in various ways including annotated sketches, diagrams, prototypes and computer aided designs. They learn to use a wider range of tools safely and purposefully and become more selective in the choice of resources for their projects. Pupils will be able to make effective use of their evaluations to improve their work. They will be able to apply knowledge of mechanisms to their own designs including electrical and computing systems.  Pupils deepen their knowledge of how technology has affected and shaped the world we live in.

All children will develop their skills in food technology, cooking a range of dishes using a variety of techniques. They will develop a deeper understanding of how ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.

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Design and technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, children 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. Our children 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 at St Thomas’ should support every aspect of the St Thomas’ ethos as reflected in the S=P+A+C+E for Learning approach.  It should contribute to the children’s creativity and resourcefulness.  Experience of successful problem solving and the process of development through trial and error should build resilience and self-confidence and the approach of providing next steps encourages perseverance.  The skills acquired through DT should support the children as they tackle further challenges in their education and the cross-curricular nature of DT at St Thomas’ should enable the children to apply and embed learning from other areas.

In addition, the assessment model using learning reflections, peer feedback and verbal feedback combined with the iterative process of design should support every St Thomas’ child in exploring and gaining confidence in their S=P+A+C+E for Me skills.  The opportunity for self-expression in a variety of media which the subject allows should contribute to the children’s sense of well-being.


In the implementation of DT learning at St Thomas’ lessons aim to allow for Rediscover elements to consolidate learning and Going Deeper opportunities to stretch all children and provide challenge.

The implementation of DT at St Thomas’ has two main aspects.  Firstly, as a school we increasingly cover all 5 strands of the technical skills that form the foundation of Design and Technology with some overlap with the area of ICT.  These strands include:  Structures and Mechanisms, Electrical Systems, Computing Programming, Monitoring and Control and Cooking and Nutrition.

In parallel, the children develop their skills and confidence in the areas of Design, the ‘Make’ phase of their products and in the Evaluate stages of their work.  There is a clear development of the children’s work in all these areas.  In Design, they move from following design criteria to developing their own based on the brief they have been provided with.  As they move through the years they generate, model and communicate their ideas with increasingly sophisticated diagrams and models.  As regards the Making stage of the design and build, as they progress they select and use a broader range of tools and equipment and consider a wider range of factors when choosing materials such as functionality and aesthetics.

The Evaluate phase is critical to ensure that the subject is assessed accurately and the children’s work is effectively reviewed.  Teachers carry out a developmental mark once every half term and during each project, self-evaluation and peer evaluation are used to support the iterative process.  There are many opportunities for both independent and collaborative challenges, This informs the teachers’ planning.  Membership of the DT Association and access to the Xavier Trust planning resources further support the planning process.

A skills booklet will go with the children from year group to year group in order for them to see their own progression of skills and to ensure they have received sufficient Health and Safety training for the use of a variety of tools.

At St Thomas’ the children’s work is celebrated in each year group.  Examples of this include the gallery for Art and DT, the Viking Museum in Year 4 and the Arabian Nights in Year 5 which the children cater for.

Children will be encouraged to research significant people linked to various areas of D&T in order to inform their planning and evaluation of a project.


The impact of the DT curriculum is evaluated in several ways.  A record of the technical skills is kept and reviewed for each project the children undertake.  Evidence of the iterative process and the self-evaluation and peer evaluation that supports this is evidenced in the DT book of each child.  The teacher’s developmental marking takes account of this assessment and makes suggestions as to how the child can progress in the subject.  Book looks and learning walks, as well as curriculum mapping, enable a school-wide overview of the subject at St Thomas’.  The pride that the children take in this subject and the impact that it has can be seen from the high quality presentation and work in books and celebrations.

The successful implementation of the subject of DT allows for the children to not only acquire technical skills and subject knowledge, but also to develop transferable skills such as problem solving, analysis and a reflective approach that will support them in any academic or professional undertaking.  This directly supports St Thomas’ strategic aims of focusing on learning and teaching and the development of the whole child.  Though DT is not one of the core subjects in the curriculum, because of the nature of the subject and its cross-curricular links, it is clear that its effective implementation can have a really positive impact on our School Improvement Priority 1 – Raising the bar with all the benefits that this brings for our children.