Preston Park Primary



Design Technology

‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.' – Steve Jobs

What do we want for our children?

 We live in an ever-changing world, fuelled by technology and innovation. The study of design technology teaches children to think outside the box, to develop their own ideas and to respond to identified needs and opportunities, preparing them for life in the world of tomorrow. It gives children the chance to work through a creative process that is more structured and action-orientated; making or adapting existing products and systems.

At Preston Park, we aim to equip our children with both the creative and investigative skills they need to excel across the primary curriculum and beyond. The transferable skills they are taught in design technology marry closely with their learning in history, science, mathematics and art, and open up a wealth of opportunities for pupils to have future careers in engineering, architecture, culinary practices and product design, among others.

Children are taught how to problem solve, and will work creatively on shared projects to solve a specific brief, where they will organise, delegate and implement their collective ideas. We encourage children to ask questions and seek answers through practical exploration, thus becoming more resourceful and inquisitive.   

How do we deliver this effectively?

 At Preston Park, we use the Kapow Primary scheme of work which fulfils the statutory requirements outlined in the national curriculum (2014)  [1] and for EYFS (Reception) links are made to Development Matters [2] and the Early Learning Goals [3]. The national curriculum Programme of study for Design and Technology aims to ensure that all pupils:

The Kapow Scheme of work is organised into six key areas. Each area is divided into 4 strands of design, make, evaluate and technical knowledge.

The six key areas are revisited each year, with Electrical Systems and Digital World beginning in Key Stage 2.

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

Cooking and nutrition has a separate section in the Design and technology National Curriculum, with additional focus on specific principles, skills and techniques in food, including where food comes from, diet and seasonality. Cooking and nutrition units still follow the design process summarised above, for example, by tasking the pupils to develop recipes for a specific set of requirements (design criteria) and to suggest methods of packaging the food product including the nutritional information.

Each of the six key areas linked to the technical knowledge reinforces principles learnt through exploring various methods and techniques. The technical knowledge descriptors build upon prior learning and introduce new learning.

Design and Technology is taught discreetly each term, and although our units of learning are usually ‘stand-alone’ topics in their own right, some do connect with other subject topics across the curriculum.

We have an inclusive approach which supports children with SEND. At Preston Park, teachers adapt and tailor their lessons to meet both the learning and physical needs of all children.

Design Technology provides an opportunity for children to experiment with their own creativity while learning in a supportive environment yet also having the freedom to make mistakes and find techniques that work for them. Through this, pupils learn how to take risks and are able to discover their own preferences whether this be sewing, cooking or creating with crafts. For many this is can provide an outlet to show their innovative nature and create something functional in a mindful way.

It is therefore important to ensure that all learning is taught in a considerate and encouraging manner. At Preston Park, teachers ensure that the individual needs for each pupil are being met by adapting and differentiating the planning where relevant such as simplified instructions. Every skill included in the Design Technology planning is examined and appropriate resources are provided. One factor considered is the need for suitable resources to allow children of all abilities to carry out fine motor skills and so easy-grip tools such as knives and scissors are provided.

What does this look for our children?

 Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

In Early Years, child-led learning is integral to the curriculum. Supporting children in following and exploring their own interests encourages them to explore their practical design and making skills through a combination of child-led and adult-directed activities. These include sewing and weaving, junk-modelling, building using construction skits (e.g. Lego, Duplo, magnets and K-Nex), cookery, bakery and others aspects of creative play through one of the 7 areas of learning – Expressive arts and design. In this area, pupils develop their imagination, creativity and their ability to use media and materials and work towards the Early Learning Goals.

Children at the expected level of development will:

  • Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function
  • Share their creations, explaining the process they have used
  • Make use of props and materials when role playing characters in narratives and stories

As we work through our EYFS reception units, children will have plenty of opportunities to get to know each of these areas, as they explore different materials, processes and outcomes. Children do this in a range of ways including junk modelling, playing with colours, textures and designs. This emerging knowledge and understanding can be used to explore crucial early design and making skills. By the time children are in Reception, they will be increasingly able to use what they have learnt to independently explore their own practical and creative design ideas, including making for a purpose or for a particular person. Free access to resources I skey, and so children have a dedicated ‘art station’ and access to recycled materials every day.

The early learning goals in the EYFS aim to guide children in their exploration and experimentation of materials, tools, colours and textures. Through this, they can begin to attribute meaning to the models and designs they make. Their experiences in the EYFS form the foundation for future learning in Design Technology.



Autumn Term

Junk modelling

Hibernation box

Mechanical Systems

Sliding picture

Spring Term

Cooking and Nutrition



Flower threading

Hanging decorations

Summer Term





Cooking and Nutrition

Rainbow Salad


Key Stage One (Years One and Two)

In years 1 and 2, children begin to design for a given purpose, or for a specified person or group of people – the user. Children learn to use their knowledge of existing products to help inspire their own designs, and be will introduced to some key designers and products through time. They will be introduced to the ‘design cycle’, and will start to communicate their ideas through talking and drawing. They will be supported in using simple design criteria to develop these ideas. Children will begin to say how their products will work, and how they will make them suitable for their users.

Across Key Stage 1 pupils learn core foundation skills across the key areas of cookery, construction and textiles, for example: threading a needle, basic sewing stitches, cutting and joining materials, strengthening basic structures, and measuring and cutting ingredients. How to be safe and hygienic whilst using specific tools will be taught and revisited consistently throughout all units.

Throughout the design cycle, children will be encouraged to talk about their design ideas and what they are making. By the end of the Key Stage, children will be making simple judgements about their products using specific design criteria, and suggesting how their products or designs could be improved.


Year One

Year Two

Autumn term


Making a moving story book

Structures and Mechanisms

Constructing a windmill


Fairground wheel

Cooking and Nutrition

A balanced diet

Spring term




Wheels and axles


Making a moving monster


Baby bear’s chair

Summer term

Cooking and Nutrition





Key Stage Two (Years Three to Six)

Across Key Stage 2, children continue to immerse themselves in practical textiles, construction and cookery sessions, building upon their understanding and experiences of design from Key Stage 1. Children will become increasingly confident in understanding and working through the ‘design cycle’, and this will form the basis of all teaching. They will continue to design based on a target user and will learn how to gather information about the user’s wants and needs, using this to inform their designs. By Upper Key Stage 2, this research will take the form of surveys, interviews and web-based investigation. Children will be able to indicate key features of their design that will appeal to their intended users, and explain how particular parts of their products work.

Building upon the foundation of core skills taught in Key Stage 1, pupils will begin to use a wider range of materials and tools with improved precision and deftness. They will be introduced to techniques that involve a number of steps, and will be taught how to select suitable tools and materials to suit particular methods. Building upon the skills taught in previous years, children will be sewing, finishing textiles, assembling and joining components and preparing ingredients with increasing accuracy. By the end of the Key Stage, pupils will be demonstrating resourcefulness when tackling practical problems.

Children will use design criteria to evaluate their completed products, identifying strengths and areas for development in their own outcomes, as well as those of their peers. By Upper Key Stage 2, children will consider the views of others, including their target users, to improve and amend their design ideas. By the end of the key stage, children will able to assess the quality of their designs, including their manufacture and fitness for purpose. They will explore important and impactful designers and existing products throughout history, consider other areas of design such as sustainability and cost-effectiveness, and begin to think about the impact products may have beyond their intended purpose.


Year Three

Year Four

Year Five

Year Six

Autumn Term


Cross stitch and applique

Electrical Systems

Electric poster

Electrical Systems


Mechanical Systems

Making a slingshot car

Mechanical Systems

Making a pop-up book

Digital World

Monitoring devices

Digital World

Navigating the world

Cooking and Nutrition

Come dine with me

Spring Term

Mechanical Systems

Pnuematic toys

Digital World

Wearable technology

Digital World

Mindful moments timer

Cooking and Nutrition

Adapting a recipe

Cooking and Nutrition

What could be healthier?







Summer Term

Cooking and Nutrition

Eating seasonally


Constructing a castle






Stuffed toys

Electrical Systems


Electrical Systems

Steady hand game

Mechanical Systems

Automata toys


Progression in Skills and Understanding

 The Kapow Primary scheme of work has been designed as a spiral curriculum with the following key principles in mind:

  • Cyclical: Children return to the key areas again and again during their time in primary school.
  • Increasing depth: Each time a key area is revisited it is covered with greater complexity.
  • Prior Knowledge: Upon returning to each key area, prior knowledge is utilised so pupils can build upon previous foundations, rather than starting again.

Consistent progression in design technology is essential and our ‘Progression of Skills and Understanding’ document clearly outlines how children will develop year-on-year.


As with all learning at Preston Park, technical vocabulary acquisition is prioritised and correct spellings and vocabulary are insisted upon and modelled at all times. 

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How does this contribute to and develop our 21st Century learner?

The outcome of our design technology curriculum will be children who are able to:

  • Take risks
  • Be resilient and reflective
  • Use appropriate skills within cookery, construction and with textiles
  • Work collaboratively and independently
  • Delegate and share leadership
  • Reflect and take on board constructive advice and comments
  • Be able to consider the impact that design and designers have had on our world

Our children will use their creativity, resourcefulness and imagination to explore the past, present and future of design. The carefully planned and progressive units of learning will allow children to immerse themselves in these inspiring, rigorous and practical experiences.


 Research frames our thinking in what we teach and how we deliver it to our children to ensure teaching and learning has maximum impact.

Please see references to the research linked above:

[1] National Curriculum  

[2] DfE Development Matters

[3] EYFS Framework from September 2023