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At Collis Primary School our immersive Design & Technology curriculum provides all children opportunities to be creative and design in a varied way, with meaning. We encourage children to become independent, creative problem solvers and thinkers both as individuals and as part of a team. We encourage children to evaluate their designs, material choices and final product and also identify successes and possible development points. Design & Technology is a way for children to use their imagination and creativity, testing their own ideas, taking risks, to gain self-confidence and resilience. ‚ÄčOur D&T curriculum is shaped by our school vision: to enable all children to encounter challenge and have the courage and determination to find a solution. We aim to foster creativity through the design and make process.


Collis has a clear skills and knowledge progression and a well thought out, whole school, yearly overview of the D&T curriculum which is problem focused. Each unit explicitly teaches technical knowledge and vocabulary. This allows for progression across year groups in all areas of D&T (textiles, structures, food, computer control, mechanisms and electrical systems). This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year-by-year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning.



The topics are well planned and resourced providing children with a hands-on and enriching experience. Teachers plan collaboratively using the D&T progression grid when creating their medium term plan. D&T is mostly taught half termly, however some topics lend themselves to teaching in blocks and may be taught over the course of a week. Work is evidenced in design and technology folders showing children’s progress. The use of knowledge maps enables teachers to ensure sticky knowledge and key vocabulary is taught across the project. Throughout the project, children will be exposed to revisits of previous sticky knowledge within the unit of work and previous years learning, further embedding the golden thread.


The design process should be rooted in real life, relevant contexts to give meaning to learning. The children design and create products against design criteria that consider function and purpose. With the exception of cooking and nutrition, all teaching of D&T should follow the investigate, design, make and evaluate cycle. Children are encouraged to have their own ideas focussing on the process not the end product. Therefore, opportunities for continuous evaluation are fed throughout the project. The design process allows for children to be taught key skills, including annotated diagrams, exploded diagrams and also the introduction of Computer Aided Design (CAD). During the project, some lessons will have ‘Focused Practical Tasks’ (FPTs) were a particular skill is taught explicitly. For example, practising two types of stiches, or making a prototype. As this enables children to focus on key practical skills, FPTs promotes more successful outcomes. While children make, teachers ensure that health and safety issues related to the tasks are undertaken.


D&T creates opportunities for children to be in the learning pit as the subject requires a range of knowledge and skills. Children are encouraged to problem solve independently, or with their peers. Therefore, D&T at Collis provides great opportunities for collaborative learning. In D&T, provisions should be in place to adapt teaching to support learners while still achieving the same learning objective. For example, aids to identify vocabulary. However, children are still being challenged in how they can adapt their design and product and that challenge is shown by the outcome. This includes the final product alongside their D&T folder which shows the learning journey.



In year 2, every child practiced

their running stitch on a prototype puppet

before making their final project


Pupils are introduced to specific designers, architects, engineers, chefs, nutritionists, etc. helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement and increase the cultural capital from which they can draw in the future.


In Early Years, D&T is developed through continuous provision. D&T is accessible in both our creative and construction areas within the classroom, where the children thrive by carrying out challenges set by the teacher. Depending on the children’s engagement and learning, the teacher will either revisit the challenge or move the children’s learning forward by setting a new challenge.

Example of progression in Mechanical (Golden thread ‘System’)


   Year 1 Mechanical System.  Moving Picture   Year 2.  Mechanical System.  Fire Engine

                                   EYFS                                  Year 1                                Year 2

                        Mechanical system               Mechanical system             Mechanical system

                                  Sliders                          Moving picture                     Fire engine



                                          Year 3                                                                  Year 4

                               Mechanical system                                                  Electrical system

                              Levers and linkages                                                          Torch               



                                                   Year 5                                   Year 6

                                        Mechanical system                    Mechanical and

                                                   Cam toy                        electrical system



  • Knowledge and skills progression grid embedded within planning. Which will result in children knowing more and remembering more in D&T. Children will be able to recall knowledge and be able to apply it to their learning.
  • Children confidently communicate their ideas in a variety of ways, for example, by talking, drawing or through IT.
  • Children are confident to talk about their project, reflect, evaluate and adapt it
  • Children are confident with using a range of resources to create products with a purpose and function for a specific audience


If you were to walk into D&T lessons at Collis, you will see:

  • Children given the opportunity to investigate current products available
  • Booklets that record the work undertaken that enable them to create a product
  • A range of materials and resources used throughout the year
  • Children confidently expressing what has gone well in their designs and what can be improved
  • Children evaluating on their own D&T work and editing where necessary
  • Children who are proud of what they have created and confident to talk about the different aspects of their work.
  • Children who are keen to learn and have a passion for constructing, building, creating and problem solving.


Some examples of Pupil Voice

Year 2: ‘I enjoyed making the book different to other books by using flaps, wheels and levers.’

           ‘I try to do my best to solve the problem before asking for help.’

Year 3: ‘Making soup was fun and it was yummy.’

Year 4: ‘I learned how to saw wood and cut food with a knife.’

Year 5: ‘You make it more than once so that you can edit it.’


  • Introduce a new knowledge and skills progression into planning and classroom practice
  • Developing the use of knowledge maps linked to each scheme of work to explicitly teach knowledge within each unit
  • Resourcing and developing the use of the D&T room
  • Developing IDEAS (investigate, disassemble, evaluate, handle and analyse) throughout units of work across the school
  • CPD training for the whole staff on planning a unit of D&T
  • CPD for the D&T subject leader on CAD
  • Raising the profile of D&T in the school
  • Defining roles in the D&T team


  • Ensure each unit of work has a knowledge map with a design innovator attached
  • Continue CPD for Subject leads in computer control units of work and embed these within the curriculum for years 4 and 6
  • Team teach design and technology with teachers who are less confident delivering skills based lessons
  • Develop assessment systems for assessing sticky knowledge and key skills at the end of each unit using level descriptors
  • Carry out learning walks for D&T to inform CPD going forwards