Design & Technology Curriculum

Design Technology Curriculum Statement

At The Oaks Academy, we aim to inspire and engage all learners to be creative and innovative, manage and control risks, work safely with a variety of tools and materials, become resourceful, enterprising, and resilient citizens.
Design and Technology is about providing opportunities for children to develop their practical capability. By combining their design and making skills with knowledge and understanding of the subject, they learn to create quality products. However, at its core, is creativity and innovation. Students learn to design and make products that solve genuine, relevant problems within different contexts whilst considering their own and others’ needs, wants, and values. To do this effectively, they will acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on additional disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing, and art.
As part of the Design and Technology curriculum, we strive to create an engaging and challenging learning environment that strives to allow all learners to develop their creative thinking and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality products for a wide range of users. Learners are given opportunities to prototype and refine ideas and are encouraged to self-reflect and refine ideas based upon testing and other evaluative factors. Through this, learners can become iterative thinkers and become resilient to the rapidly developing world of design technology.
We work hard to give learners opportunities to become:
●    Creative thinkers who use a wide range of research to inform designs and opinions
●    To be technical thinkers and engage in practical tasks to develop and improve manufacturing expertise to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world
●    Strive to build manufacturing knowledge and apply a range of materials knowledge, understanding and skills to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users (across all materials areas)
●    Are self-reflective, critical thinkers who will evaluate and test their ideas and manufactured products and the work of others to inform design decisions
●    Understand and can apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook, as well as lead a healthy lifestyle.
An OAKS  learner will look like:
D= are designers and innovators for the future
T = can choose from a range of materials and technologies to generate and manufacture their ideas

Here's our Design & Technology Curriculum Road Map for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4:

National Curriculum

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 for design and technology aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • 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.

Attainment targets

By the end of key stage 3, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the programme of study

Key stage 3

Through a variety of creative and practical activities, pupils should be taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making. They should work in a range of domestic and local contexts [for example, the home, health, leisure and culture], and industrial contexts [for example, engineering, manufacturing, construction, food, energy, agriculture (including horticulture) and fashion].

When designing and making, pupils should be taught to:


  • use research and exploration, such as the study of different cultures, to identify and understand user needs
  • identify and solve their own design problems and understand how to reformulate problems given to them
  • develop specifications to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that respond to needs in a variety of situations
  • use a variety of approaches [for example, biomimicry and user-centred design], to generate creative ideas and avoid stereotypical responses
  • develop and communicate design ideas using annotated sketches, detailed plans, 3-D and mathematical modelling, oral and digital presentations and computer-based tools


  • select from and use specialist tools, techniques, processes, equipment and machinery precisely, including computer-aided manufacture
  • select from and use a wider, more complex range of materials, components and ingredients, considering their properties


  • analyse the work of past and present professionals and others to develop and broaden their understanding
  • investigate new and emerging technologies
  • test, evaluate and refine their ideas and products against a specification, taking into account the views of intended users and other interested groups
  • understand developments in design and technology, its impact on individuals, society and the environment, and the responsibilities of designers, engineers and technologists

Technical knowledge

  • understand and use the properties of materials and the performance of structural elements to achieve functioning solutions
  • understand how more advanced mechanical systems used in their products enable changes in movement and force
  • understand how more advanced electrical and electronic systems can be powered and used in their products [for example, circuits with heat, light, sound and movement as inputs and outputs]
  • apply computing and use electronics to embed intelligence in products that respond to inputs [for example, sensors], and control outputs [for example, actuators], using programmable components [for example, microcontrollers].

Exceeding Ambition

To further develop the National curriculum, learners are given a clear design process to interleave and embed their core skills within their curriculum. Through this interchangeable system, learners can develop their iterative learning and manufacturing skills through these core areas that develop the national curriculum further. This process also filters through into the KS4 and Post 16 options.


Key Stage 3

This course comprises of an introduction to workshop, design and manufacturing process required for D&T.  In Y7 Learners are introduced to basic workshop routines, equipment and design routines in order to design and manufacture a variety of items. Learners are given a broad and varied curriculum in Y7 to widen their design thinking, knowledge and how design plays a role in their everyday lives. When students move into year 8, they recap and use these key skills to begin focusing learnt knowledge into the wider impacts of design & technology around the globe. Focus moves from a basic “design & make” range of projects towards independent design thinking where learners choose and justify design thinking using evaluative strategies (which lead to refinement, re-design and manufacture)

Key Stage 4

Course Details: Throughout the course, learners participate in a wide range of themed design and prototype/make activities solving a range of real world issues. Learners are given time to embed theoretical knowledge through the creation of design portfolios and theory booklets to aid revision. During practical sessions, learners expand on their previous KS3 knowledge and create a range of solutions (through the five material specialisms) to attempt to solve client based issues that impede their daily lives. This qualification provides the perfect stepping stone for learners wanting to pursue a design and or manufacturing career post 16 as it allows the learner to take part in a well rounded, forward thinking design course

Implementation - what does learning look like?

Within Design Technology we see learning as an iterative process. Learners will have a variety of strengths and development areas across all materials we utilise- it is our job to provide opportunities for all learners to develop their design thinking and manufacturing skills

Key Stage 3

Year 7
Throughout the year 7 course students will be developing their understanding of key concepts that link to working safely in a variety of design & technology rooms. The focus will be to give Y7 learners a varied materials range (textile, paper, timber, polymer and alloy) to allow learners to identify materials specialisms and understand the importance of appropriate material choices for specific tasks. Learners within Y7 will develop confidence and skills in manufacturing products relating to specific design contexts and themes. Moving through Y7 learners will firstly complete a baseline manufacturing task to identify competency within the D&T curriculum (manufacturing) this will then move towards learners adapting and deciding design choices based on a variety of scenarios. This focus will encourage resilience, confidence and problem-solving abilities within learners to manufacture a specific product.

Year 8&9
Building onto the curriculum of Y7, learners in Y8 will begin to problem solve and create solutions to real world design issues. Within this year, learners will have an overall theme of “Sustainability in Design”. With this focus learners will use the design and manufacturing systems of Y7 as well as adding the iterative design strategies for constant evaluation. Moving through Y8&9, learners will look at the wider impact design & technology has on the environment and the work of others in how design and manufacturing has become a growth industry both here in the UK and abroad. Learners will throughout the year create small, scaled projects for both themselves, specific clients and to solve real world issues faced to those around the world. Learners will delve deeper into the materials studied and processes used in manufacturing (production scales and design choices) as well as build confidence in their own design choices for relevant projects. Throughout this time curriculum, learners will delve deeper into the world of Design & Technology, and this will allow learners to understand the wider impact Design & Technology has on society and the world around them.

Key Stage 4

Year 10: To begin the GCSE course, learners focus on developing their theoretical knowledge based on looking at the Core Principles of Design, Specialist Technical principles (students chosen materials areas) and Designing and Making principles. Throughout Y10, learners will interweave topics from each of the three chapters, to design, manufacture and evaluate products considering the wider ethics and world of design. Learners will use their prior knowledge and build opinions on design movements and trends to inform design decisions. As Y10 learners move through the year, they will be given ample time to explore their manufacturing skills across a range of materials areas, before making a final choice on which material area to focus on at the end of Y10 for the examination.

Year 11: During Y11 learners are provided with their contextual challenges (June 1st of Y10) which they must develop and create a portfolio/prototype of a client-based problem. This is worth 100 marks and equates to 50% of the GCSE grade. Learners will need to use the iterative design process to formulate, prototype and evaluate their solutions against the client's needs. Once complete, learners will build on their specialist materials area to test, develop and prepare for the final GCSE exam. The exam paper consists of three separate areas (General design knowledge, Specialist Materials area and Core Design Principles) which is 100 marks and equates for 50% of the overall GCSE grade.


 KS3 learners' work should be marked after every second lesson. Across the block this would mean learners' work would be marked at least twice (mid and end of block). Once the block is completed, learners/staff will complete an end of block skills RAG document which informs skill development. This sheet is to be inside individual learner assessment files.  Both DT and Food KS3 assessment logs will be stored together

KS4 learners' work (both book and practical work) should be marked once per fortnight. 

 Aims and Principles

The aim of the feedback policy in the Design & Technology Department is to ensure students receive timely and accurate responses to their work which ensures that:
● Learners can identify and correct their own mistakes and share their own strengths both in theory and practical elements
● Learners can demonstrate improvement on their work independently in both theory and practical elements
● Learners demonstrate correction of and improved understanding of grammatical and spelling issues within Design & Technology/Food Technology
● Learners demonstrate understanding of key words and concepts within the subject context of each topic
Improvement Phases will target the following areas as priorities:
● Understanding and spelling of key words and concepts as identified within the scheme of work and knowledge organisers
● Challenging misconceptions and correcting mistakes within the theory context
● Developing written responses in order to develop deeper subject knowledge.
● Demonstrating correct understanding and application of practical methods within the materials context.
● Accuracy and quality of practical outcome based upon materials context.
The following methods may be of use when planning improvement phases:
● Sample answers – model examples of graded work for students to evaluate against. From this, students can evaluate and compare their own work to produce improved responses or make corrections as appropriate.
● Redrafting – this can be a whole class or individual exercise depending on what work has been produced. Students will be expected to complete the same or similar task as before, but this time given more specific guidance (through mark schemes or exemplar work) based on what the teacher has learned from looking at the class books
● Reteach – it may be that having looked at the books entire concepts have not been properly understood by most of the class in which case the concept is retaught (whilst providing additional challenge for the minority who could demonstrate understanding previously)
● Modelling/demonstration for practical/theory improvements- when creating practical pieces, teachers will produce models of 3D outcomes or techniques to show the workings of components/materials in the correct context. Demonstrations can be used on a 1-1 or small group’s basis to aid learners understanding.

Cultural Capital Opportunities linked to Personal & Character Development

Within Design Technology, learners will have access to skills videos and both a core skills/materials/equipment KO. These items will support learners in their homework, classwork and wider reading/knowledge base. These skills videos will be used by staff to support teaching skills as part of the learning process. Throughout the character programme, we focus to instil a a growth mindset within learners to prepare them for the design and manufacturing world around them.