Design and Technology

DT Progression of Skills and Knowledge

DT Progression of Skills and Knowledge

Design and Technology is an exciting, inspiring 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 Derwent Vale Primary School, we intend that children should master Design and Technology to such an extent that they could go on to have careers within this field and make use of design and technology effectively in their everyday lives. By providing a high-quality D&T education, pupils will be innovative and creative thinkers who have an appreciation for the product design cycle through ideation, creation and evaluation. We want pupils to develop the confidence to take risks, through drafting design concepts, modelling and testing and to be reflective learners who evaluate their work and the work of others.


Our Design and Technology curriculum is broken up into four key areas for KS1 and six for KS2. It is a spiral curriculum; as such, these areas are revisited and skills and knowledge are built upon each year. Each of the key areas follows the design process and has a particular theme and focus from the technical knowledge or cooking and nutrition section of the National Curriculum. These areas are as follows:

  • Cooking and Nutrition
  • Mechanical
  • Structures
  • Textiles
  • Electrical Systems (KS2 only)
  • Digital World

The Design and Technology National Curriculum outlines three main stages of the design process: design, make and evaluate. Each unit of work follows these stages, to form a complete project and each stage of the design process is underpinned by technical knowledge and encompasses the contextual, historical and technical understanding required for each strand.

Units are methodical and follow a step-by-step approach, which usually begins with research, idea generation and modelling, then moving on to the creation of a prototype and/or a completed product and finally testing and evaluation. We recognize that all aspects of the process are equally important to the children’s development, however the finished product is not the primary goal. Instead, it is the result of a learning journey that encompasses a variety of skills, technical knowledge and applied-learning.

In EYFS Design and Technology falls under the ‘Expressive Arts and Design’ section of the Early Learning Goals. It is taught in Reception and Nursery through child-initiated and adult-led activities. Children are given the opportunity to make verbal plans and material choices and use knowledge from exploration to inform their designs. They improve their fine motor skills, experiment with a variety of materials and learn different methods for joining materials together. With adult support, children verbally evaluate their designs, checking if it matches their plan, describing their favourite and least favourite parts and considering what they might do differently next time.

In KS1 and KS2 D&T is taught in blocks, which means pupils will study a whole unit across the span of a week. Each year group is taught at least 4 units of Design and Technology across the year. Children record their work through design and evaluation sheets as well as by making prototypes and final products. Children’s work and picture collages of lessons are stored in individual binders kept in each classroom and are available for reference and assessment purposes. We want to ensure that Design and Technology is embedded in our whole school curriculum and that opportunities for enhancing learning by using design and technology are always taken.


Children at Derwent Vale enjoy and value Design and Technology and know why they are doing things, not just how. Children will understand and appreciate the value of Design and Technology in the context of their personal wellbeing and the creative and cultural industries and their many career opportunities. The Design and Technology curriculum contributes to children’s personal development in creativity, independence, judgement and self-reflection. This should be seen in them being able to talk confidently about their work, and sharing their work with others. Pupils should leave the school equipped with a range of skills to enable them to succeed in their secondary education and be innovative and resourceful members of society.