Design and Technology


Design and technology helps to prepare pupils for the developing world. This subject encourages pupils to become creative problem-solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team.

At Gorseland, we encourage children to use their creativity and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.

The children are given opportunities to reflect upon and evaluate past and present design technology, its uses and its effectiveness and are encouraged to become innovators and risk-takers.

Our curriculum is designed to assist pupils in developing a greater awareness and understanding of how everyday products are designed and made.

Our Design and Technology curriculum starts in the Early Years and progresses sequentially through to Year Six. In every lesson we focus on threshold concepts that ties the ambitious body of knowledge together with the characteristics children are developing.

The essential characteristics of mastery in Design & Technology are:

  • Significant levels of originality and the willingness to take creative risks to produce innovative ideas and prototypes.

  • An excellent attitude to learning and independent working.

  • The ability to use time efficiently and work constructively and productively with others.

  • The ability to carry out thorough research, show initiative and ask questions to develop an exceptionally detailed knowledge of users’ needs.

  • The ability to act as responsible designers and makers, working ethically, using finite materials carefully and working safely.

  • A thorough knowledge of which tools, equipment and materials to use to make their products.

  • The ability to apply mathematical knowledge.

  • The ability to manage risks exceptionally well to manufacture products safely and hygienically.

  • A passion for the subject and knowledge of, up-to-date technological innovations in materials, products and systems.

Threshold concepts are taught repeatedly throughout the curriculum, linking learning into meaningful and rich semantic schemas.

In Design & Technology the threshold concepts are:

  • Master practical skills. This concept involves developing the skills needed to make high quality products (we have highlighted a range of skills but they may be added to or changed as appropriate for your school).

  • Design, make, evaluate and improve. This concept involves developing the process of design thinking and seeing design as a process.

  • Take inspiration from design throughout history. This concept involves appreciating the design process that has influenced the products we use in everyday life.

It is our vision to inspire a lifelong love of Design and Technology within our pupils. Design and Technology has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity

Therefore, at Gorseland, our aims are to ensure children experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long-term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge

We work hard to provide a rich and varied curriculum to challenge and meet the needs of our children. We believe all pupils, irrespective of needs, should be taught essential aspects of the knowledge, methods, processes and uses of Design and Technology .

From EYFS through to KS2 or KS3, pupils build up a body of key foundational knowledge and concepts; are encouraged to recognise the power of rational explanation and develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena.

Threshold concepts tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, students return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build understanding of them.

Both in lessons and through our continuous provision, the retrieval of previously learned content is frequent and regular, which increases both storage and retrieval strength of their knowledge.

In addition to this, our Design and Technology curriculum is carefully designed to provide vital background knowledge that broadens pupils’ experiences and enhances their cultural capital.

Our curriculum maps are carefully crafted and available in school. The curriculum content is available on our website.


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.

Key skills and key knowledge for Design and Technology are mapped across the school to ensure progression between year groups. This also ensures that there is a context for the children’s work in Design and Technology; that they learn about real life structures and the purpose of specific examples, as well as developing their skills throughout the programme of study.

Design and technology lessons are also taught as a block so that children’s learning is focused throughout each unit of work.

We maintain a high level of subject knowledge of Design and Technology in our school by regular training and professional development for teachers and subject leaders. Teachers create a positive attitude to Design and Technology learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in Design and Technology .

Through our planning of problem-solving opportunities, children are encouraged to ask their own questions and use scientific skills and research to discover the answers. Their curiosity is celebrated within the classroom.

Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, assessing children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning in order to plan for next steps.

We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, and they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.

Within each Milestone, students gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. Knowledge organisers help students to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema.

We also encourage all pupils to use specific topic related vocabulary. Continuous provision, in the form of daily routines, provides retrieval practice for previously learned content.

Guidance from the framework of ‘Support and Challenge’ is used to plan a bespoke curriculum tailored to pupils’ individual needs to facilitate access to quality learning experiences and develop their Design and Technology knowledge, understanding and skills.

With effective subject leadership, we are a well-equipped and resourced school. Regular monitoring shows that our children understand and apply key scientific principles within their work. At Gorseland, we have a rigorous monitoring process of the Design and Technology curriculum that is kept up to date and contributes towards our school improvement plan.

Class teachers are usually responsible for teaching Design and technology, although there will be times when professional artists/helpers will be involved in the teaching of the topic. In addition to lessons, children have opportunities to engage in entrepreneurial style design activities and present their work to parents and members of the local community, such as our Dragons Apprentice.

Through the implementation of our curriculum, children learn in lessons how to take risks, becoming resourceful and innovative. Evaluations of past and present design and technology further help their learning to develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world.


Assessment of children's learning in Design Technology is an ongoing monitoring of children's understanding, knowledge and skills by the class teacher, throughout lessons. Assessments are made each term reflecting pupils’ development with Design Technology at basic, advancing and deep levels. These assessments then inform our bespoke plans for differentiation, support and challenge as required by the children. Design Technology is also monitored by the subject leader throughout the year in the form of book monitoring, looking at outcomes and pupil interviews to discuss their learning and understanding and to establish the impact of the teaching taking place.

At Gorseland, we demonstrate the success of our ambitious Design and technology curriculum with pupils being able to:

  • Demonstrate significant levels of originality and the willingness to take creative risks to produce innovative ideas and prototypes.

  • Approach the lessons with an excellent attitude to learning and independent working.

  • Have the ability to carry out thorough research, show initiative, and ask questions to develop an exceptionally detailed knowledge of users' needs.

  • Act as responsible designers and makers, working ethically, using materials carefully and working safely.

  • Draw on a thorough knowledge of which tools, equipment and materials to use to make their products.