School Logo

Design Technology

Design Technology Curriculum Rationale

At Hillcrest Primary 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. We want them to embody our core values. We all believe that: “All children can learn and discover together to make a better world”. The design technology curriculum has been carefully crafted so that our children develop their design and technology capital. 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! Recently, children in Year 6 were set the challenge of designing and building their own diorama which refers to a 19th-century mobile theatre device as part of a cross-curricular DT and Geography project. They spent the afternoon making their diorama’s come to life. Bringing design technology alive is important at Hillcrest Primary School. 


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 them 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. For example, we have a wonderful school allotment where the children frequently visit, cultivate and harvest what they grow every year. The crops are often used to create soups in design technology and are sold as part of mini-enterprise initiatives. Vegetables are used as part of our cookery lessons and the children harvest their homegrown vegetables and turn them in to soup to enjoy as part of ‘The Big Soup Share’. This event celebrates the work we do in our school allotment by harvesting our crops, whizzing them up into a delicious soup and sharing it out with others.


We want our children to use the vibrancy of our great city 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 and our core values placed at the heart of everything we do. This often feeds into the design technology curriculum.  For example, Year 5 looked at the significance of ships pennants and the SS Great Britain in particular. Sewing panels together using techniques which ranged from simple running stitch to adding decoration in the form of applique, beads, buttons and decorative stitching.


We enrich their time in our school with memorable, unforgettable experiences and provide opportunities which are normally out of reach – this piques their interests and passions. For example, earlier this year some of our pupils took part in a virtual talk from T.Snook, hatters and outfitters since 1896. They got a greater understanding of the history of the hat. They also learnt about famous hat wearers who have had an influence on Bristol, such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel in his stovepipe, Blackbeard the Pirate and W.G.Grace. And if that wasn’t enough they designed and made a prototype for their own hat and then led a ‘Hat Parade’ around the streets which bordered the school so that our parents could join in the celebration.  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

The design technology curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. For example, the way design technology is taught at our school has been revamped and now follows a consistent structure using ‘Kapow Design and Technology Curriculum’. Kapow covers the full content of the curriculum which has been categorised into five areas – cooking and nutrition, mechanisms, structures, textiles and electrical systems (in KS2). In each lesson the pupils can design, make, evaluate whilst also enhancing their technical knowledge. There is ample opportunity in this curriculum for children to revisit and apply and build on their design and technology skills as they move through the school.


Design technology subject specific characteristics, which we expect the children to demonstrate, have been developed and 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.


Staff have year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. Whilst design and technology is taught discretely staff make meaningful links across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning. For example, in Year 4 when the children explore ‘Electrical Systems – Simple Circuits and Switches’ they also tackle electricity in science and read ‘The boy who harnessed the wind’ by William Kamkwamba in English. Our children are taught the right, connected knowledge.


Our short-term plans are produced on a weekly and daily basis. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each lesson, identifying engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them.

In most subject areas we encourage staff to teach a weekly lesson however this is not the case for design technology. Each term, the year groups will have at least two deep-dive design technology days. This helps to ensure that the children see the whole process from start to finish – from existing products through to their finished product. We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make. 


Curriculum Impact

We use both formative and summative assessment information in order to inform our short-term planning. Our low stakes quizzes are efficient, effective and motivating for the pupils, whilst providing teachers with vital information about what the pupils have misunderstood or are struggling to remember. These questions can easily be recycled, utilising the spacing effect to ensure content is retained for the long term instead of being forgotten soon after the lesson. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in design and technology are progressive and build year on year. 


Our staff use design and technology formative assessment grids to systematically assess what the children know as the topic progresses and inform their future planning. These formative assessment grids then inform summative assessment judgements for each enquiry.


Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in design and technology. A comprehensive monitoring cycle is developed at the beginning of each academic year. This identifies when monitoring is undertaken. Monitoring in design and technology includes: pupil book, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.


All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.

At Hillcrest Primary School,