How each unit works:

Each design technology unit plans to meet the criteria of the National Curriculum, extending children’s skills and knowledge in design, structures, mechanisms, electrical control, materials, cookery and nutrition. Each unit of learning is planned around one of three core areas: textiles, construction (including electronics) or cookery. Core skills are mapped out and introduced within each unit, and then built on and revisited year by year, as children move through the school. By Year 6, we expect pupils to be utilising knowledge and skills from throughout their time at Thomas Jones to produce more advanced final outcomes.

Design Technology is taught discretely 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. For example, Year 1’s Heraldic Flags textiles unit links closely with their learning on Knights and Castles.

Through a sequence of practical and immersive sessions, the children will follow the ‘design cycle’ throughout many units across the school:

  • outlining a brief
  • designing
  • planning
  • making
  • evaluating

By Upper Key Stage 2, children should be confident with following and understanding both the process and purpose of the design cycle. As with other creative curriculum areas at Thomas Jones, self-evaluation and critical appraisal of their own outcomes is constantly encouraged, as is the development of skills in working effectively with peers and within design teams.

Our cookery sessions are almost all practical, with theoretical aspects interwoven where appropriate; either at the start of a practical session or in a standalone session. These non-practical sessions teach children about nutrition, healthy diets and food choices, where our food comes from and important elements of health and safety in the kitchen, including teaching core skills. Some of this learning compliments other subjects concerning health and wellbeing such as science and personal development.

Design Knowledge

  • Construction – key architects/designers, structures and strength
  • Textiles – key artists/designers, working with fabrics
  • Cookery – reading recipes, ‘farm to fork’, nutrition, health and safety
  • Technical vocabulary

Design Skills

  • Design – research, target users, concept, product design, planning, criteria, pattern, form, shape
  • Make - building, joining, safe use of tools, sewing techniques, weaving
  • Evaluate – target users, testing, self/peer assessment, redesign
  • Cookery – food preparation: cutting, slicing, mixing, peeling, measuring, assembling


DT 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 Thomas Jones 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 DT 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.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

In the Early Years Foundation Stage, children are actively encouraged to explore their practical ‘making’ and design skills through a combination of child-led and adult-directed activities. These include sewing and weaving, junk-modelling, building using construction kits (for example, Lego, Duplo, magnets and K-Nex), cookery, baking and other aspects of creative play through one of the 7 areas of learning; ‘Expressive arts and design – creating with materials’. In this area children develop their imagination, creativity and their ability to use media and materials and work towards the Early Learning Goal (ELG): 

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 

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 is key, 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. 

Key Stage 1

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.

At Thomas Jones, 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.

KS1 Design Technology Curriculum Map:


Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term

Year One


Healthy balanced diets


Heraldic flags


Paper Toys

Year Two


Houses and Homes


Seasonality – fruit and vegetables


Decorative pillows


Key Stage 2

In years 3 to 6, 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.

KS2 Design Technology Curriculum Map:


Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term

Year Three






Celebrating cultures

Year Four


Great British Foods


Mini Greenhouses



Year Five


Batik landscapes


Healthy Week


Night Lights

Year Six


Bread through the Ages


History of a telephone


Class Patchwork Wall Hanging