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Design Technology Curriculum Rationale

At East Dene we are designers and technologists! We want our children to love design technology. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be architects, graphic designers, chefs or carpenters. The design technology curriculum has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their design and technology capital through purposeful projects. We want our children to remember their DT lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the DT opportunities they are presented with!

Curriculum Intent

The design technology curriculum promotes curiosity and a love and thirst for learning. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient – like all curriculum areas.

We want to equip our children with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the design technology National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

We want our children to use the vibrancy of our local context to learn from other cultures, respect diversity, co-operate with one another and appreciate what they have. We achieve this by providing a strong SMSC curriculum, with British Values, our core values and our curriculum drivers placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the design technology curriculum where we will ensure that our DT sessions are the focus of an end outcome. For example, we use our cooking skills to prepare dishes for religious celebrations within school and we use our textile skills to make items to sell at our Christmas Market.

Our aim is to enrich the time each child spends in school through providing memorable experiences and opportunities which are normally out of reach – this heightens their interests and passions. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in the classroom, it is about the added value we offer to really inspire our children.


Curriculum Implementation

Our design technology curriculum provides learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group with careful consideration given to progression and opportunities for repetition to support the retention of key learning, knowledge and skills.

Design technology subject specific characteristics, which we expect the children to demonstrate, have been shared with all stakeholders. These characteristics underpin all work in DT and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. These characteristics 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 and passion for the subject and knowledge of, up-to-date technological innovations in materials, products and systems.
  • 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.


Curriculum Impact

We use both formative and summative assessment information in every design technology lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. Children will be assessed next to the progression model. We will then look at the quality of products and pupil voice to ascertain if children are working at their year group expected level. This means that skills in design technology are progressive and build year on year. Monitoring in design technology includes: book scrutinies, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.

Cultural Capital

Cultural capital is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours and skills that a student can draw upon and which demonstrate their cultural awareness, knowledge and competence. It is one of the key ingredients a student will draw upon to be successful in society, at their secondary school and further education and eventually their career and the world of work.

At East Dene we enhance children’s experience and learning by utilising different opportunities in our DT curriculum and around school and within our wider community.

We plan and deliver DT weeks linked to celebrations within school so outcomes are tangible and link to our current context. Whilst teaching the National Curriculum, we also embed various experiences to develop their skills in the curriculum area and prepare children for the real world. We ensure we provide exciting and engaging DT weeks to develop their thinking and practical skills whilst encouraging children to extend their vocabulary within DT.

Within this we also demonstrate and encourage our school values and make relevant links to our school drivers within the community projects:

Creative Collaborators

Aspiring Minds

Our Family, Our Community, Our World

Memory Makers

We encourage the involvement of all stakeholders in our DT activities, working alongside external partners such as Rotherham CLC, to ensure we model the behaviours we want to promote in our school and the community and sharing ideas which can then be further developed at home.



Concepts: Materials Equipment/tools Design Evaluate Purpose


End points
  EYFS Year 1/2 Year 3/4 Year 5/6
Textiles Present boxes Puppet Cushion Stuffed toy
Cooking and nutrition Soup Smoothie Eid dish Adapt a dish/recipe
Mechanisms/Mechanical Systems Pirate ship Vehicle Pneumatic Toys Pop Up Book

Cycle A – 2022 – 2023

Autumn Term

Overarching Project – To create an item using textiles to sell at the school Christmas market.

  EYFS Y1/2 Y3/4 Y5/6
  Present boxes Making a Puppet Making a Seasonal Cushion Making a Stuffed Toy
Knowledge Explore different materials freely, to develop their ideas about how to use them and what to make. Develop their own ideas and then decide which materials to use to express them. Join different materials and explore different textures To know that ‘joining technique’ means connecting two pieces of material together.

To know that there are various temporary methods of joining fabric by using staples, glue or pins.

To understand that different techniques for joining materials can be used for different purposes.

To understand that a template (or fabric pattern) is used to cut out the same shape multiple times.

To know that drawing a design idea is useful to see how an idea will look.

To know that applique is a way of mending or decorating a textile by applying smaller pieces of fabric to larger pieces.

To know that when two edges of fabric have been joined together it is called a seam.

To know that it is important to leave space on the fabric for the seam. To understand that some products are turned inside out after sewing so the stitching is hidden.

To know that blanket stitch is useful to reinforce the edges of a fabric material or join two pieces of fabric. To understand that it is easier to finish simpler designs to a high standard.

To know that soft toys are often made by creating appendages separately and then attaching them to the main body.

To know that small, neat stitches which are pulled taut are important to ensure that the soft toy is strong and holds the stuffing securely.

Design   Using a template to create a design for a puppet. Designing and making a template from an existing cushion and applying individual design criteria. Designing a stuffed toy, considering the main component shapes required and creating an appropriate template.

Considering the proportions of individual components.

Make Cut and stick materials to make a present box. Cutting fabric neatly with scissors.  Using joining methods to decorate a puppet.

Sequencing the steps taken during construction.

Following design criteria to create a seasonal cushion

Selecting and cutting fabrics with ease using fabric scissors.

Threading needles with greater independence.

Tying knots with greater independence.

Sewing cross stitch to join fabric.  Decorating fabric using appliqué. Completing design ideas with stuffing and sewing the edges (Cushions)

Creating a 3D stuffed toy from a 2D design.

Measuring, marking and cutting fabric accurately and independently.

Creating strong and secure blanket stitches when joining fabric. Threading needles independently

Using appliqué to attach pieces of fabric decoration.

Sewing blanket stitch to join fabric. Applying blanket stitch so the spaces between the stitches are even and regular.

Evaluate   Reflecting on a finished product, explaining likes and dislikes.


Evaluating an end product and thinking of other ways in which to create similar items. Testing and evaluating an end product and giving point for further improvements.
Vocabulary Join cut choose build stick model tape Decorate design fabric glue model hand puppet safety pin staple stencil template Appliqué cross-stitch design equipment fabric patch running stitch thread seam texture knot Accurate annotate appendage blanket-stitch design criteria detail evaluation fabric sew shape stuffed toy stuffing template


Cycle A – 2022 – 2023

Spring Term

Overarching Project – To design and create a healthy dish or smoothie

  EYFS Y1/2 Y3/4 Y5/6
  Cooking and nutrition
End points Soup Fruit & Vegetables Eating Seasonally What could be healthier?
Knowledge Make healthy choices about food, and drink Understanding the difference between fruits and vegetables.

To understand that some foods typically known as vegetables are actually fruits (e.g. cucumber).

To know that a blender is a machine which mixes ingredients together into a smooth liquid.

To know that a fruit has seeds and a vegetable does not.

To know that fruits grow on trees or vines.

To know that vegetables can grow either above or below ground.

To know that vegetables can come from different parts of the plant (e.g. roots: potatoes, leaves: lettuce, fruit: cucumber).

To know that not all fruits and vegetables can be grown in the UK. To know that climate affects food growth.

To know that vegetables and fruit grow in certain seasons.

To know that cooking instructions are known as a ‘recipe’.

To know that imported food is food which has been brought into the country.

To know that exported food is food which has been sent to another country.

To understand that imported foods travel from far away and this can negatively impact the environment. To know that each fruit and vegetable gives us nutritional benefits because they contain vitamins, minerals and fibre.

To understand that vitamins, minerals and fibre are important for energy, growth and maintaining health.

To know safety rules for using, storing and cleaning a knife safely. To know that similar coloured fruits and vegetables often have similar nutritional benefits.

To understand where meat comes from – learning that beef is from cattle and how beef is reared and processed, including key welfare issues.

To know that I can adapt a recipe to make it healthier by substituting ingredients.

To know that I can use a nutritional calculator to see how healthy a food option is.

To understand that ‘cross-contamination’ means bacteria and germs have been passed onto ready-to-eat foods and it happens when these foods mix with raw meat or unclean objects.

Design   Designing smoothie carton (for an Eid celebration) packaging by-hand or on ICT software.


Creating a healthy and nutritious recipe for a savoury Eid dish using seasonal ingredients, considering the taste, texture, smell and appearance of the dish. Adapting a traditional recipe, understanding that the nutritional value of a recipe alters if you remove, substitute or add additional ingredients.

Writing an amended method for a recipe to incorporate the relevant changes to ingredients.

Designing appealing packaging to reflect a recipe.

Make identify fruit and vegetables

Food tasting soup

Make healthy choices about food – food tasitng Fridays


Chopping fruit and vegetables safely to make a smoothie.

Identifying if a food is a fruit or a vegetable.

Learning where and how fruits and vegetables grow.

Knowing how to prepare themselves and a work space to cook safely in, learning the basic rules to avoid food contamination.  Following the instructions within a recipe. Cutting and preparing vegetables safely.

Using equipment safely, including knives, hot pans and hobs.

Knowing how to avoid cross-contamination.

Following a step by step method carefully to make a recipe

Evaluate   Tasting and evaluating different food combinations.

Describing appearance, smell and taste.

Suggesting information to be included on packaging.

Establishing and using design criteria to help test and review dishes.

Describing the benefits of seasonal fruits and vegetables and the impact on the environment.

Suggesting points for improvement when making a seasonal dish.

Identifying the nutritional differences between different products and recipes.

Identifying and describing healthy benefits of food groups.

Vocabulary Fruit Vegetable Healthy Recipe Design


Fruit vegetable seed leaf root stem smoothie healthy carton design flavour peel slice Climate Dry climate Exported Imported Mediterranean climate Nationality Nutrients Polar climate Recipe Seasonal food Seasons Temperate climate Tropical climate Beef Cross-contamination Diet Ethical issues Farm Healthy Ingredients Method Nutrients Packaging Reared Recipe Research Substitute Supermarket Vegan Vegetarian Welfare


Cycle A – 2022 – 2023

Summer Term

Overarching Project – To design, make and evaluate an item with a mechanism for our Summer Fair

  EYFS Y1/2 Y3/4 Y5/6
  Mechanisms/Mechanical Systems
End point Pirate ship Moving Story Book Wheels and Axles Pneumatic Toys Pop Up Book
Knowledge Return to and build on their previous learning, refining ideas and developing their ability to represent them. Create collaboratively, sharing ideas, resources and skills To know that a mechanism is the parts of an object that move together. To know that a slider mechanism moves an object from side to side.

To know that a slider mechanism has a slider, slots, guides and an object.

To know that bridges and guides are bits of card that purposefully restrict the movement of the slider.

To know that wheels need to be round to rotate and move.

To understand that for a wheel to move it must be attached to a rotating axle.

To know that an axle moves within an axle holder which is fixed to the vehicle or toy.  To know that the frame of a vehicle (chassis) needs to be balanced.

To understand how pneumatic systems work.

To understand that pneumatic systems can be used as part of a mechanism.

To know that pneumatic systems operate by drawing in, releasing and compressing air.


















To know that mechanisms control movement.


To understand that mechanisms can be used to change one kind of motion into another.


To understand how to use sliders, pivots and folds to create paper-based mechanisms.


Additional   To understand how sketches, drawings and diagrams can be used to communicate design ideas.


To know that exploded-diagrams are used to show how different parts of a product fit together.

To know that thumbnail sketches are small drawings to get ideas down on paper quickly.

To know that a design brief is a description of what I am going to design and make.


To know that designers often want to hide mechanisms to make a product more aesthetically pleasing.

Design   Explaining how to adapt mechanisms, using bridges or guides to control the movement.


Designing a moving story book for a given audience.

Designing a vehicle that includes wheels, axles and axle holders, that when combined, will allow the wheels to move.


Creating clearly labelled drawings that illustrate movement.

Designing a toy which uses a pneumatic system.

Developing design criteria from a design brief.

Generating ideas using thumbnail sketches and exploded diagrams. Learning that different types of drawings are used in design to explain ideas clearly

Designing a pop-up book which uses a mixture of structures and mechanisms.

Naming each mechanism, input and output accurately.

Storyboarding ideas for a book.

Make Make a pirate ship in groups with a moving part (steering wheel) Following a design to create moving models that use levers and sliders Adapting mechanisms, when:

They do not work as they should.

To fit their vehicle design.  To improve how they work after testing their vehicle.

Creating a pneumatic system to create a desired motion.

Building secure housing for a pneumatic system.

Using syringes and balloons to create different types of pneumatic systems to make a functional and appealing pneumatic toy.

Selecting materials due to their functional and aesthetic characteristics.

Manipulating materials to create different effects by cutting, creasing, folding and weaving.

Following a design brief to make a pop up book, neatly and with focus on accuracy.

Making mechanisms and/or structures using sliders, pivots and folds to produce movement.

Using layers and spacers to hide the workings of mechanical parts for an aesthetically pleasing result.

Evaluate   Testing a finished product, seeing whether it moves as planned and if not, explaining why and how it can be fixed.


Reviewing the success of a product by testing it with its intended audience.

Testing wheel and axle mechanisms, identifying what stops the wheels from turning, and recognising that a wheel needs an axle in order to move. Using the views of others to improve designs.

Testing and modifying the outcome, suggesting improvements.


Understanding the purpose of exploded-diagrams through the eyes of a designer and their client.

Evaluating the work of others and receiving feedback on own work.  Suggesting points for improvement.
Vocabulary Materials features wheels assemble design make test Assemble Design Evaluation Mechanism Model Sliders Stencil Target audience Template Test Axle Axle holder Chassis Design Evaluation Fix Mechanic Mechanism Model Test Wheel Exploded-diagram Function Input Lever Linkage Mechanism Motion Net Output Pivot Pneumatic System Thumbnail sketch Aesthetic Computer-aided design (CAD) Caption Design Design brief Design criteria Exploded-diagram Function Input Linkage Mechanism Motion Output Pivot Prototype Slider Structure Template




Get your child designing

Ask them to draw or sketch an exciting, new product and label it. Ask: What is it? What is it for? Who is it for? Why have you designed it? What materials will you use to make it? What equipment will you need to make it? How will you make it?

Expose your child to as many different materials as possible

Question them about the materials around you (binca, cardboard, corduroy, cotton, elastic, felt, faux fur, glass, hessian, leather, metal, net, plastic, satin, velvet, waterproof fabrics, wool, wood). Ask: What is this material called? How would you describe it? What could it be used for? How strong is it? Is it flexible? Is it waterproof? As well as this, expose your child to a wide variety of ingredients, get them tasting and helping you with the cooking (especially with the washing up).

Encourage your child to make things

Junk modelling is considered favorably amongst parents as it keeps the cost down and utilises recyclable materials available around the house. Could your child make a house? Castle? Bridge? Robot? Construction kits like Lego, K’Nex and Meccano are also fantastic to freely explore, or your child could construct an equally-marvellous creation by following their step-by-step instructions. You could also participate in some sewing with your child, perhaps fix a button back onto a shirt or stitch a hole up?

Spark your child’s curiosity about products in the world

Every man-made product in the world has derived from a Design and Technology process. Get them to research everyday products, from the basic, to the weird and wonderful. Ask: How was it made? How might that work? Why? The Discovery channel is excellent for this and there are various “How does it work?” clips on YouTube to watch and enjoy, in awe.


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