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Thornhill Primary School

Thornhill Primary School

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Design & Technology

Thornhill’s key principles for the teaching of Design and Technology:


Design and technology prepare our children to work and deal with things in tomorrow’s rapidly changing world. Through the teaching of DT at Thornhill, we are developing our pupils to be resourceful, innovative, as well as entrepreneurial and a capable citizen who can comment and improve upon past and present designs or products. By doing this the children will become creative problems solvers and thinkers, able to work independently and as a group.


Throughout the children’s time at Thornhill, they will engage iterative projects around: Textiles, mechanisms, electrical and mechanical components, structures and food and nutrition.


Through practical and engaging tasks, the pupils at Thornhill, will be skilled to understand the impacts DT has on their daily lives and the wider community, as well as looking at ways to improve it.


To equip our children for this, Thornhill aims to develop pupils’ by providing them with tasks through a clear process of designing and making.


Researching - Children will be encouraged to understand technological processes and products, their manufacture, and their contribution to our society; by interacting, researching, or evaluating existing products. Through researching children will identify how design and technology shapes society and world around them.


Designing – Children will be encouraged to think of creative, imaginative, and technical ways to meet the design brief relating to different DT areas. Designs can be developed through reference to previous products, new initial ideas, labelled diagrams or protypes.


Making – Children will be encouraged to select appropriate tools and techniques when making a product, whilst following safe procedures and the design brief. Children will look at adapting products when faced with challenges.                


Evaluating – Children will be encouraged to investigate and analyse a range of existing products as well as critique, evaluate, and test their ideas and products, and the work of others using the design brief. Children will then have an understand how key events and individuals in design and technology have helped shape the world


Technical language – Children will be encouraged to develop an understanding of technological processes using the appropriate language connected to the DT areas. Children will be encouraged to learn definitions of the key vocabulary and use them accurately through written and oral presentations of their designs and /or products.


Cooking and Nutrition – Children will be encouraged to understand and apply the principles of nutrition and to learn how to cook. Skills will be taught relating to how to position utensils to be successful in chopping, cutting, mixing safely.


Skills - Children should be provided with the opportunity to learn, refine and improve their understanding of the designing and making, across a range of projects to ensure the National curriculum objectives are met.


The effective teaching of design and technology at Thornhill.


Planning:  To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in design and technology, at Thornhill we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. DT is taught termly through our learning questions, focusing on knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. Teachers at Thornhill use the skill progression maps to develop upon the given area related to their learning question. Across the year, children at Thornhill will complete 3 DT projects, including a DT project relating to cooking and nutrition.


DT Week: At Thornhill we look at developing the children understanding using DT week, where we structure the learning of the course of 4/5 lessons: Researching, designing, making (2 lessons) and evaluating. Through this programme of teaching the children are provided with the opportunity to use their skills, knowledge, understanding and practical resources to complete projects. When work is completed the opportunity to share learning and successes through use of the school newsletter, DB Primary and assemblies.


Cross curricular links: To provide the children with transferable skills we ensure that our DT projects link to our learning question as much as possible, providing the children with a purpose and clear concept. Projects will include various writing opportunities, through instructional writing and descriptive language. Mathematically, children will work on developing shape knowledge and progressing into measure and accuracy. Objects and items may also be inspired through historical/geographical concepts, linked to the theme of the learning question.  It will be the teacher’s responsibility to bridge other areas of the curriculum to DT, including computing.


Project based learning:  Activities in design and technology are planned to build on the prior learning of the children. We give all children the opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding. Progression is built into the scheme of work so that the children are increasingly challenged as they move through the school.  This scheme sets out six different project areas which are taught across key stages. Children will receive teaching of all 6 project areas over two years:


  • Nutrition and Food  
  • Textiles
  • Materials
  • Construction
  • Mechanics 
  • Electricals and Electronics *

(*These area/projects are to be taught in KS2 only)



At Thornhill the importance of technical knowledge is important when completing the projects. Teachers will ensure that lessons practically assist children’s understanding of structures- both basic and complex, around strengthening and stiffening and stabilising them. As well as develop a clear understanding of mechanical and electrical systems and the relevant language relating to the area (Levers, sliders, wheels and axles, gears, pulleys, cams, levers and linkages/ series circuits incorporating switches, bulbs, buzzers and motors) Through food children at Thornhill will learn the importance of healthy and varied diets, the preparation and cooking of dishes with the use of various cooking techniques. (measure, rolling, mixing, cutting, kneading, etc.)


Inclusion and Collaboration:  At Thornhill we pride ourselves on an inclusive practice in DT, that enables all children to achieve their best possible standard; whatever their ability, and irrespective of gender, ethnic, social or cultural background, home language or any other aspect that could affect their participation in, or progress in their learning. It is up to the class teachers to address the needs of all children in their classroom by carefully grouping them and setting open-ended investigational work which a child can develop as far as their abilities allow, through collaborating with their peers, working on cooperation, using clear communication. We will ensure that they are given the opportunity to develop and extend their abilities to their full potential.


Health and Safety:  It is essential that, at Thornhill, teachers always ensure the health and safety of the children. When working through DT projects, teachers will carefully select materials and equipment, as well as organising work areas within the classroom. The teacher will need to show clear demonstrations of techniques, following the school’s health and safety practice. The school will agree a range of materials, equipment and techniques to be used, which are suitable for the year group.


Assessment: A integral part of the teaching of DT at Thornhill links to the our children being reflective on their own work, by making choices throughout the designing and making process which they will later look at successes and areas of development of their products. We encourage and welcome supporting others. Through DT we look upon peer assessment, which relates to the success criteria provided by the teaching staff or created by the children.  Each unit will build upon prior learning and building upon these areas year on year to ensure we are developing upon embedding the language into children’s long-term memories. Summative assessment is carried out throughout the process by the children, their peers and teachers, through verbal feedback and written feedback. Formative assessments are made in line with the National Curriculum or each unit completed. These judgments are then used and shared with parents in the end of year reports.

  • Thornhill Primary School,
  • Thornhill Road,
  • London,
  • N1 1HX