Visit Trust

Design Technology & Engineering

Design Technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. We encourage children to learn to think and intervene creatively to solve problems both as individuals and as members of a team. 

Students 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. 

We aim to, wherever possible, to link work to other disciplines such as Maths, English, Science, Engineering, Computing and Art. 

How we learn

  • 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.
  • Pupils work in a range of relevant contexts. 
  • Key skills and key knowledge for Design Technology have been mapped across the curriculum to ensure progression between year groups. There is always a context for pupils learning in Design Technology. 
  • In all years, specialist theory content is taught alongside designing and making tasks.


  • Use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups.
  • Generate, develop, model and communicate ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design.
  • Develop extended writing skills by annotating and evaluating all aspects of design, development and practical work throughout a project.


  • Select from and use a wide range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks (for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing) accurately.
  • Select from and use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.
  • Use CAM to create products or components that complement products manufactured using traditional hand tools and equipment.


  • Formative assessment is used throughout all projects to enable students to further develop and improve their work before final summative assessments at the end of a project.
  • Assessment criteria is available to all students and regularly used in lessons to enhance learning and pupil progress.
  • Assessment is used to track students' progress and identify gaps in knowledge and skills which are re-taught as necessary.
  • Theory tests and mock exams are used to assess knowledge. 

Key Stage 3

  • In Year 7 and Year 8 students are taught all areas of Design Technology: Food, Textiles, Graphics, Systems & Control and Resistant Materials.
  • Assessment information and other student information is shared at the end of each rotation to enable effective progression and pupil tracking.
  • In Year 7, students have minimal previous experience of Design & Technology from KS2. A small number may have attended an extra curricular five-week module when they were in Year 5.
  • The curriculum develops designing, making and writing skills through the five curriculum areas.
  • In Year 9 students will spend a whole term in each area. This will enable them to get a feel for potential KS4 subjects and build on the knowledge and skills from Year 7 and Year 8 at a far greater depth.
  • The curriculum is broad and knowledge and skills based with the aim of improving and developing life skills as well as effectively preparing students for high levels of success in a wide range of potential KS4 subjects.

Key Stage 4

  • The Key Stage 4 Curriculum is deliberately very broad and has been designed to enable students to progress through the usual GCSE route following GCSE Design & Technology or a vocational route. 
  • The vocationally-based route has been created due to local needs in the workforce as there is a high demand for young people to follow careers in Engineering and Hospitality and Catering. There are also clear progression routes for post 16 education at Petroc or through an apprenticeship in these subjects.
  • Students are able to select from the following subjects: GCSE Design & Technology, BTEC Engineering, BTEC Hospitality & Catering, Child Development.
  • All subjects build on the knowledge and skills from the Key Stage 3 Curriculum.
  • All subjects aim to further develop life skills but also develop knowledge and skills to enmsure that students are well prepared for Key Stage 4 for coursework tasks and final GCSE exams.


  • Technical specialist Design & Technology vocabulary is taught in each of the KS3 subject areas. 
  • Due to the lack of previous experience of Design & Technology at KS2 and also due to a number of students coming from word poor families, technical vocabulary is a big focus at Key Stage 3.
  • All topics will have a learning journey and technical vocabulary will be included in all student workbooks, design folders and displayed in class rooms.
  • Key Stage 4 vocabulary is subject specific and builds on the vocabulary taught at Key Stage 3. 
  • Students are expected to use specialist vocabulary in their extended writing with connectives to allow them to include justification in their work.
  • Specialist vocabulary and knowledge is taught through dedicated theory lessons to enable students to be successful in their final GCSE exam and coursework tasks.


  • STEM activities such as Race For The Line and the Greenpower car.
  • Access to new technologies such as a 3D printer and a Dye Sublimation Printer 
  • The department works alongside the Eco Club with various projects such as insect houses for the Christmas Fair and bird box building.

Design and Technology Curriculum Documents


Engineering Curriculum Documents


Design and Technology department's SEND learner experience...


Design Technology is taught on a termly rotation model in KS3. All pupils do a term each of Resistant Materials and Systems, Textiles and Food Technology. We aim to keep our class sizes at below 20 students in KS3 and KS4 and they are taught in fully equipped workshops and kitchens with highly qualified and experienced staff. 

We currently offer GCSE Design and Technology, including a dedicated class focusing on Fashion and Textiles, and Level 2 Cambridge National in Engineering Manufacture. 

All Design Technology classrooms have visually clear fronts to the classroom to help avoid over stimulating ASD students and clutter is avoided in all rooms, helping to support students to focus on the resources being shown. Furthermore, resources, students’ practical work and written work are stored tidily away.  

All Design Technology lessons have a consistent approach to help students anticipate and know what to expect from the structure of the lesson. The structure of lessons will involve students lining up outside the room and collecting when invited their folders/books, which are laid out on the table before starting the Do-It-Now task. At the end of the lesson the books will be collected in and then students are dismissed a table or row at a time.  


We create annotated seating plans using EHCPs and pupil passports, as well as any other information we have received, to seat and support students in our classrooms. The seating plans will allow for students to adjust their position if their additional need requires it.  

At the end of each rotation, we pass these seating plans on to the next teacher, along with notes on any strategies that we have successfully used. This helps ensure that teachers start the rotation knowing how to support the students. 

We liaise with the SEND/CAIRB where necessary. 

All of us have developed schemes of work for projects that are suitable for a range of abilities, as well as extension work for our more able students. 

Where appropriate, we use PowerPoints which we have developed over time, to support our lessons. This also enables us to include examples of exemplar work. Where applicable, we print off the PowerPoint slides for students to use during the lesson. 

We use yellow/buff backgrounds with dark blue or black Century Gothic or Calibri font on PowerPoints created in house. 

Students work from printed A4 workbooks. We keep these at the end of the projects, so that the next teacher can see them and we can check progression or provide evidence for EHCPs if necessary. 

For KS4 DT coursework, we use A3 workbooks and include templates where necessary, as well as checklists and detailed lists of the requirements. 

We have made videos of key skills that we can use in our lessons (for example, soldering, threading the sewing machines) as well as instruction sheets for some techniques and processes. 

We all have visualisers in our rooms and plan for their use during demonstrations. 


We have specialist equipment in our rooms to help SEND students. These include hand sewing machines, cordless irons and tabletop ironing boards, adjustable work benches, PCB holders, templates and jigs and various other things we have bought over the years, sometimes for specific students.  

We often model in our teaching, both to whole classes as well as to smaller groups and individuals. We often demonstrate practical and written tasks using the “I do, we do, you do” method as this helps to ensure students know what to do, step by step. 

Our “Do it Now” tasks often include mix and match vocabulary lists. Written work is usually done using templates and we make good use of exemplar materials and visual prompts. 

We have built up a bank of structure strips to help students answer the essay type questions they are likely to encounter at KS4. 

We feel that we usually have good relationships with SEND students and we try to ensure they all leave with a finished practical product, especially if they are missing lessons due to their additional needs. If necessary, we help them or make use of our department technicians to complete the practical out of lesson time this is because we know how important it is that they feel the same pride in taking something home as everyone else. 

We have a technician, who is fully qualified in Health and Safety in Design Technology, who can help during Resistant Materials and Systems and Control lessons to support students with additional needs or help the TAs support their students in an area they may not feel confident in. The technician’s presence can also allow teachers to support other students while the technician supervises the use of machinery and tools. 

We also have an HLTA, who is able to offer targeted interventions for our KS4 students. The HLTA also helps with the access arrangements for some students. 

We give personalised verbal and written feedback during lessons. We also have our own, dedicated computer suite which students can use if required, allowing them to use immersive reader and allowing them to access their exam arrangements for coursework, as well as the written exam. 

The department does regular moderation of students work to help ensure all teachers have the same expectations for work and share their best practice in supporting students with additional needs.