Design & Technology



At St John’s we want to develop children who have a strong sense of belief in themselves. We understand that Design and Technology provides opportunities for children to develop their capability and leaves children feeling proud of their accomplishments. Allowing children to make decisions for themselves and carry out practical work to create a product leaves children with a great sense of achievement.

We believe that Design and Technology provides a motivating context for developing English, Mathematics, Science, Art, PSHE and Computing skills. Design and Technology allows children to develop key skills through collaborative working and problem-solving and encourages them to be creative and innovative. We believe that all of the children at St John’s have the potential to make the world a better place and aim to provide a Design and Technology curriculum that develops designers of the future.


Design and technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. They acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.

At St John’s we use Cornerstones to help teach our Design and Technology curriculum. This allows children to experience a balanced Design and Technology curriculum where they design, make and evaluate as well as develop their technical knowledge. Children are also given the opportunity to prepare and cook food.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), children begin their journey in Design and Technology. Staff create a range of opportunities for children to carry out Design and Technology related activities during their time in Nursery and Reception. These activities allow children to develop the essential basic skills within Design and Technology. These activities link to the ‘prime area’ of Physical Development, as well as the ‘specific areas’ of Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design.

In Key Stage One, children will design purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria. During the designing stage they will generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas in a range of ways. When making their product they will select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks and select from and use a wide range of materials and components. The children will explore and evaluate a range of existing products as well as their own ideas and products against a design criteria. Children will be given the opportunity to build structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable. They will also explore and use mechanisms in their products. Children will develop an understanding of where food comes from and have the opportunity to use the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes.

In Key Stage Two, children will use research and develop their own design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose. They will generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design. When making their products they will select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks accurately. They will select from and use a wider range of materials and components, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities. Children will investigate and analyse a range of existing products as well as their own ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work. Children will develop an understanding of how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world. They will be given the opportunity to develop their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures. They will understand and use mechanical systems in their products and understand and use electrical systems in their products. They will apply their understanding of computing to program, monitor and control their products. Children will continue to develop their understanding of a healthy and varied diet and apply these principles when preparing and cooking a variety of predominantly savoury dishes using a range of cooking techniques. They will also develop their understanding of seasonality, knowing where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.


Children at St John’s will develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world. They will build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users. They will be able to critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others. They will understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.

Special Educational Needs

According to OFSTED, pupils with special educational needs make better progress in D&T than in most other subjects.

This is because designing and making usable products gives pupils a real sense of achievement. They benefit from experiencing their own progress and taking responsibility for their own learning. They enjoy the practical application of their ideas. Plus, their personal engagement with the task improves attention span, patience, persistence and commitment.

All of which means special needs pupils can achieve results that compare or even exceed their peers. Design and Technology offers these pupils the chance to experience achievement at a level that may seldom occur elsewhere in their school life.

Why is D&T important for those with special educational needs (SEN)

Design and Technology is a popular and valuable subject for pupils with special educational needs. Knowledge and understanding is drawn from across the curriculum and helps to develop and enable numeracy, literacy and communication skills that can be applied in practical ways. This consolidates skills from other lessons and reinforces learning with positive outcomes.

A broad spectrum of the D&T curriculum should be planned and delivered in order to accommodate and challenge pupils of all abilities. It may be necessary to provide specialist equipment, adapt room layouts, utilise adult helpers and allow additional time for tasks.

Planning D&T lessons for pupils with SEN

Pupils with SEN often find designing activities problematic. Therefore thought is required to ensure pupils can access and produce successful initial design work. For example, it’s vital to offer a variety of methods of recording ideas quickly. Activities focused on the physical making of designs could be supported ‘one to one’. Yet it is also important to encourage pupils to work as independently as possible. For example, by using key words sheets, flow charts and visual instruction sheets which explain a process in a step-by-step manner.

Source: DT Association 2022

Design and Technology in Early Years

In EYFS, children create their own open-ended products that support their imaginative play such as making castles and cars out of large blocks and crates outside and they also have the opportunity to design and make junk models using recyclable materials in the creative areas. They practice cutting activities using paper and card to develop scissor skills. They se various construction kits to develop their problem-solving skills within Design and Technology so they build, evaluate and improve their models. Although children have access to each area independently, challenges are included to ensure key skills are applied.

In each Nursery and Reception class a creative area is available as part of a continuous provision where children develop and practise skills independently. Children use a range of materials and are taught basic techniques such as joining, folding and safe use of simple tools.