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Margaret Wix Primary School

Design Technology (DT)

What does a designer look like at Margaret Wix Primary School? 

  • 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.


Intent – Why are we teaching this?

We aspire for each child to develop a deep interest in, and love for learning so they are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will require to be successful, both now, as children, and in the future. We offer an ambitious Design Technology curriculum, which is shaped to reflect the unique needs of our pupils and develop their confidence to express themselves through a wide range of media and methods, including textiles, construction, design, electronics, food and materials. Children are encouraged to see the opportunities that a career in design can bring.


 The breadth and depth of the curriculum provides stretch and challenge for all abilities. 

DT is closely linked across the curriculum, so that pupils can link their design experiences to their cultural understanding and a broader understanding of the world. DT topics are planned to coincide with topics covered in Geography, History, RE, PSHE and Science to maximise curriculum links. Each year group completes an in-depth study of a designer and as they move through the school, children are able to articulate about designers and why they work the way they do. We use the Kapow scheme of work to give our lessons a base. We tailor each lesson to meet the needs of our children.


The curriculum builds upon prior learning and is sequenced to ensure the progressive development of key skills, including looking and seeing. 

Children are given opportunities to explore the details of construction, design, products and materials in the world around them and give them the skills to reproduce those details in their designs and products.  At the same time, children develop and build their hand/eye co-ordination and fine motor skills, gradually building, year on year, to allow children to use tools and manipulate materials with intent. Examples include: control of tools such as hot glue guns, saws and drills as well as cooking equipment to create a range of products.


The curriculum develops an understanding of visual culture.  

Children learn how designer endeavours have developed over the course of human history and understand that creativity is an important tool for self-expression.  They are taught to understand why people make products, how designer’s personal experiences shape the items that they create and how manipulation of tools (such as wood) and techniques (such as measuring) can emphasise emotions and feelings within a finished product. Children learn about a range of designs from other cultures and develop an understanding of their uses and functions within those cultures. 


We recognise the importance of children being given opportunities for ‘real-life’ experiences in the subject, to develop their cultural capital, for example linking learning to local and wider localities.  

Children explore the work of local designers and engage in making products to express their emotions. There are a wide range of designers and cultures studied (including BAME designers) to balance the intake and provide a range of cultural viewpoints. Several Design projects across the Key Stages use recycled materials, therefore helping our children to consider the environmental implications of their work. There is a high level of vocabulary used in teaching and interactions; every topic also includes a wide range of opportunities for in-depth writing, including creative writing.


The curriculum for Design Technology enables children to experience a range of design and manufacturing processes and techniques, specifically with regard to food technology, textiles technology and 3D construction

Children design and make items with a specific purpose and consider their intended future use in order to create an item fit for purpose. We teach increasingly sophisticated methods of construction and focus on how these have been developed and are used in the world around us. Evaluation is an integral part of the learning process. Children learn to evaluate their work, build on what they have learnt, make mistakes, change their minds and understand that this is a valuable part of the design process.


We promote positive mindset and resilience so that our children attain their best, are challenged to achieve their best and leave Margaret Wix Primary School ready for their secondary education and beyond. 

It enables them to want to learn and enjoy creating work that allows them to reach a high standard in all areas of the curriculum, with enough time given for researching, discussing, exploring and refining. Having the confidence to take risks is valued and ‘having a go’ encouraged in all areas of the Design curriculum.


The Margaret Wix community is diverse and we understand the vital need for representation within our teaching. We ensure diversity across the curriculum: careful thought and planning has gone into selecting whose stories we tell and how they are told. Our curriculum has been re-examined and we have endeavoured to reduce the western bias. We strive to ensure that BAME pupils see themselves reflected in our curriculum, all year round. We call our personalised curriculum ‘The Wix Way’. In design technology, this includes learning about designers from a range of cultures.



The EEF 'five-a-day' underpins all we do for our SEND learners in art. As part of The Wix Way this means that small tweaks to the way we teach art for all children could make a significant, positive difference for the pupils with SEND in our school.


Implementation – how are we teaching this?

The Design Technology curriculum is structured to be progressive in knowledge and skills across all phases and is closely aligned to the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. Knowledge and skills are sequenced to build on prior learning and the subject is taught through a half-termly topic focus. Long term planning contains an equal distribution of Design Technology topics - three topics for each per academic year. DT is usually timetabled with weekly lessons, although some teachers prefer to teach certain sections of their topics as a block, to aid access to materials and media, for example in food technology lessons.


Progression across the school is shown by increasingly skillful mastering of key tools and materials. 

Planning and evaluating is a key focus for every year group and both demonstrate that children are able to create products with specific intent. Prior learning is revisited at the start of every topic.


Challenge is provided by increasingly sophisticated projects which are presented as children move through the school. As well as this, children are progressively challenged to consider their own work, questioning their own methods and how their work and ideas could be improved.  Support is given by providing demonstrations of techniques and skills and one-to-one help when needed, whilst also allowing children adequate time to complete their work to a good standard.


Long-term plans ensure that topics covered in Design Technology are linked as much as possible to those covered in other subjects, particularly in History, Geography and Science, as well as RE and PSHE. 

If topics need to be moved to fit in with, for example, trips and other enrichment opportunities, teachers can use the long-term plan to decide how they can rearrange, but still retain good links across the curriculum. Medium-term plans map out the individual topics and give more detail and ideas for in-depth writing and enrichment opportunities as well as thorough links across the wider curriculum.


Regular opportunities for retrieval practice enables children to deliberately rehearse newly acquired skills and knowledge, transfer these across different contexts and identify gaps in their learning, ultimately strengthening long term memory. 

Children are frequently given opportunities to ‘have a go’ at applying their learning in new contexts and encouraged to recognise mistakes as a useful, positive part of the learning process. Our whole school culture promotes self-challenge, resilience, courage, questioning and deep thinking.



We implement the 'five-a-day' strategy from the EEF within the teaching of art in variety of ways. The five strategies identified as having strong evidence for their effectiveness in supporting pupils with SEND which we use to underpin The Wix Way:



1. Explicit instruction

Explicit instruction refers to a range of teacher-led approaches, focused on teacher demonstration followed by guided practice and independent practice. Explicit instruction is not just ​“teaching by telling” or ​“transmission teaching”


  • Worked examples with the teacher modelling self-regulation and thought processes is helpful. A teacher might teach a pupil a technique for painting through modelling this process to the pupil. They would then give the pupil the opportunity to practise this skill.
  • Using visual aids and concrete examples promotes discussion and links in learning.
  • Step by step - "I do, now you do" to give all the learners a chance to evaluate their work in small steps


2. Cognitive and metacognitive strategies

Cognitive strategies are skills like memorisation techniques or subject specific strategies like measuring and cutting wood and assembling cams.

Metacognitive strategies help pupils plan and evaluate their learning


  • Chunking the task will support pupils with SEND – this may be through  instructions on a whiteboard, step by step modelling, real life examples  which helps reduce distractions to avoid overloading working memory.
  • Prompt sheets that help pupils to evaluate their progress, with ideas for further support.


3. Scaffolding

‘Scaffolding’ is a metaphor for temporary support that is removed when it is no longer required. Initially, a teacher would provide enough support so that pupils can successfully complete tasks that they could not do independently.


  • Support could be visual, verbal, or written. 
  • Outline sketches, partially completed examples, knowledge organisers, step by step modelling, pause and look demonstrations and sentence starters can all be useful.
  • Reminders of what equipment is needed for each lesson and classroom routines can be useful.
  • Scaffolding discussion of designers work: promoting prediction, questioning, clarification and summarising


4. Flexible grouping

Flexible grouping describes when pupils are allocated to smaller groups based on the individual needs that they currently share with other pupils. Such groups can be formed for an explicit purpose and disbanded when that purpose is met.


  • Allocating temporary groups can allow teachers to set up opportunities for collaborative learning, for example to work with a learning partner, mixed ability group work, independently carry out a skill, developing a new concept.
  • Pre-teaching key vocabulary to be used in DT lessons to enhance group discussion is helpful when learning new techniques or evaluating the work of a designer.


5. Use technology

Technology can assist teacher modelling. Through the use of KAPOW videos we can share a range of videos to introduce a new technique. Via the use of the internet a wealth of design final pieces or working sample models which can be shared with children to allow for zooming in and out.


  • Use a visualizer to model worked examples, modelling or sharing good examples from peers.
  • Technology in experimenting and exploring existing devices and products before creating our own designs and models.
  • Exploring larger items that the children are unable to access within school ground via online sources


Impact – what is the effect on pupils?

The impact of our curriculum is the measure of how well our intent has been realised. It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time, as well as their readiness for the next stage in education and for life as an adult in the wider world. We wish for our children to leave school with the knowledge that DT is simply another language that we can use to articulate ideas and that everyone is capable of creating interesting and exciting pieces of design work, no matter what their skill level.  


Children’s achievements in Design Technology are assessed through a variety of ways.  

Marking and feedback provides ongoing assessment information which is used to shape future teaching. Children are assessed formally at the end of each term and phase in their understanding of the key knowledge and skills covered and use of vocabulary.


We continually evaluate the impact of our Design Technology curriculum by assessing evidence that defines a high-quality education, through:

  • Judgements which are based upon a triangulation of different monitoring and evaluation activities within school such as work scrutiny, Pupil Voice discussions, outcomes of assessments and quality of teaching and learning.
  • The learning attitudes, engagement and motivation shown by the children.
  • Ongoing feedback and assessment, which addresses misconceptions and gaps in learning and informs planning to ensure that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils.
  • A range of assessment and analysis strategies: timely testing, moderation of work, pupil interviews, use of assessment grids and data tracking systems, to ensure children know what they are meant to know at specific points during their education.
  • Evidence from monitoring which shows that children are active in their learning, are able to construct their own knowledge and are able to think flexibly and creatively


In DT at Margaret Wix we strive for excellence, creativity and individuality.


EYFS learning in DT

Subject on a page

Aspirations For The Future

Pupils develop an understanding of how subjects and specific skills are linked to future jobs.

Here are some of the jobs you could aspire to do in the future as a Designer:

  • Sound engineer
  • Theme park designer
  • Videogames studies researcher
  • Lego designer
  • Den builder
  • Jewellery designer

Design Technology in action

Pupil Voice