Design Technology


At Whirley Primary School, our design and technology curriculum aims to:

  • Develop capability in the skills processes, knowledge and understanding involved in designing and making.
  • Develop a sense of enjoyment and pride in pupils’ ability to design and make.
  • Develop a critical awareness about the modern world and the recognition that pupils can bring about change.
  • Develop pupils’ ability to discuss and evaluate their own work.
  • Develop the creative, technical and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world.
  • Build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users.
  • Critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others.
  • Understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.

Whole School Rationale for the Teaching of DT at Whirley Primary School
September 2021

The Design and Technology school journey begins in Reception where we build on knowledge gained in pre-school settings and home environments. The children acquire DT knowledge under the ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World' branch of the Foundation Stage curriculum, which also covers geography, history, ICT, and science. Through ‘Expressive Art and Design’ they will also develop key skills in exploring a variety of materials, tools and techniques. They will experiment with colour, design, texture, form and function. They are encouraged to explore, observe, solve problems, think critically, and make decisions and to talk about why they have made their decisions. Children develop these skills by using a variety of construction kits, materials, tools and products, developing making skills and handling appropriate tools and construction materials safely and with increasing control.

Building upon the prior learning from the ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’ branch of the Foundation Stage Curriculum, children will begin their journey in Year 1 by handling, tasting and exploring fruits and vegetables, learning how to identify which category they fall into. Moving on from this, children will design purposeful, functional and appealing packaging for a smoothie they are going to make using their chosen fruits and vegetables. Further to their design of purposeful and functional packaging, children will move on from this by gaining an understanding of what a windmill is, what it looks like and the different types that can be found and will use this knowledge to create their own moving windmill. Children will also use their EYFS knowledge of learning through first-hand experiences by creating their own moving story book using levers and sliders, all of which they can test out throughout their design process. Building upon their knowledge gained in EYFS children will explore different ways of joining fabrics before creating their own hand puppet from a well-known fairy-tale. Building upon their EYFS first-hand experiences of exploration and problem solving children will problem solve and experiment with mechanisms to help them develop a clear understanding of how they work.

During Year 2 we will be exploring ways of building a self-supporting structure using newspaper, the children will investigate ways of manipulating the paper to create a strong building material. They will then look at how different tall objects free stand and move on to design their own landmark structure. Progressing on from the Year 1 puppet topic, the children will use running stitch to attach two pieces of fabric, making a Christmas pouch to hang on a tree, they will think carefully about their design to make it interesting but manageable. Building on the knowledge gained from food tech last year, the children will design and make a healthy wrap that includes a balance of vegetables, dairy and protein. They will also learn about hidden sugars. Developing the children’s knowledge further from the moving story book created in Year 1, they will design and make their own Easter card which will include a linkage mechanism. After troubleshooting why certain wheels don’t rotate last year, the children will design and create their own free standing, rotating Ferris wheel, understanding the use and need for an axel.


In Year 3 children build on the knowledge they were taught in Year 2 (where they were taught how to do a simple running stich) and progress further by being taught how to do cross stitch and appliqué. They will use these skills to then design, decorate and assemble their own cushions. During the second part of the term, the children will observe the effects of static electricity on objects such as plastic straws, tissue paper and glitter. They will then consider ways of using static electricity as part of a simple game that they will make.

Following this they build upon what they learnt in Year 2 (where they learnt how to categorise food and what makes a balanced diet) and move forward by using this knowledge to make seasonal dishes. As they do this, they will learn when and where fruits and vegetables are grown and learn about seasonality in the UK. Finally, children will continue their learning about structures and learn about scarabaei huts. They will follow a design specification and learn how to use clay to make a stable structure as well as creating a base to secure it to.


In Year 4 children begin the year by designing, making and testing a slingshot car made from lollipop sticks, wheels, dowels, straws and paperclips. With adult supervision, the children carefully use glue guns to secure their car chassis. Children accurately measure, cut and fold the car body using nets. Following on from previous years where children cook and put together dishes out of various ingredients, the children in Year 4 adapt a simple biscuit recipe to cook the tastiest biscuit. Throughout the cooking process, children understand the overhead budget and costs of ingredients. Children will continue their journey with learning how to sew by learning how to attach a fastening this year. Year 4 children learn how to carefully measure and accurately cut out material to their product is fit for purpose. While combining the materials together, children must do a running stitch as well as a cross stitch to attach the fastening used. This will enable them to revisit and secure their knowledge gained both in Years 2 and 3 and apply this to another project. Year 4 children then learn about pavilion structures, what they are used for and investigate how to create strong and stable structures, building on their knowledge gained in Year 2 where they explored different free standing, tall landmarks. Children then go on to design and create their own pavilions complete with cladding. Towards the end of the year when children study the topic of ‘electricity’ in science, they get the chance to apply their scientific understanding to electrical circuits to create a torch from easily available materials and objects. Throughout all topics, children learn to evaluate their work as they go and complete a thorough evaluation after each design is complete.

In Year 5, skills and knowledge will be developed across four key areas: cooking and nutrition,  textiles, mechanisms and structures. At the being of the year, children will focus on cooking and nutrition. Like in Year 4, where they modify a biscuit recipe, in Year 5 they will modify a traditional Bolognese recipe to make it healthier, compared to Year 4 where the goal was to make it tastier. They will cook their new and improved versions, making appropriate packaging and also learn about the ethical considerations of farming cattle. At Christmas, children will be able to create their own stuffed toy tree decoration. Children can bring their drawings to life and can make them as challenging or as simple as they choose. This topic will help to embed and apply skills taught in previous years; it also introduces them to a new stitch – blanket stitch. Children will be able to make a pop-up book. They will choose a story and create a book with pop-up features. They will add accompanying captions, incorporating a range of mechanisms and decorative features, including: structures, levers, sliders and spacers. This will demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have acquired since Year 1 and teach them how to apply these skills effectively and consider when each mechanism is most appropriate for their story book. The final topic in Year 5 will be structures. In this topic children will develop their understanding of secure structures and will introduce them to measuring, sawing and joining wood accurately. After learning about different types of bridges and also exploring how the strength of a structure can be affected by the shapes used. Children will create their own wooden bridge and test its durability.

In Year 6, children will continue to develop the four key areas from year 5: cooking and nutrition, textiles, mechanisms and structures. The children will investigate and analyse existing products as well as their own ideas and products against a design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work.

Children will begin the year making and constructing a window display using an automata mechanism. They will have a clear understanding of how cams work and how these can be used to make complex moving mechanisms. In the design process children will choose cams and design their own characters. They will then generate their ideas through measuring, cutting and assembling materials to create an innovative, functional and appealing product.

In line with their Science topic ‘Electricity’, children will create a steady hand game using their understanding of electrical systems. They will create a working circuit, which will either turn on a buzzer or a light to end the game.

Year 6 will continue to build on their textiles techniques, practising a range of stitches to design and create their own functional tote bag. They will use recycled materials to align with the theme ‘Make do and mend’ while studying The Blitz during WWII.

Following on from modifying recipes in year 5, year 6 children will work in groups to research and plan their own healthy 3 course meal. They will learn about each ingredient and explain its journey from farm to plate, highlighting the benefits on our environment when buying locally sourced ingredients. They will then prepare the main course.

We believe that Whirley Primary School’s Design and Technology curriculum helps to prepare children for the developing world and encourages them to become curious and creative problem-solvers, both as individuals and as part of a team.

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Whirley Primary School

Whirley RoadMacclesfield, Cheshire SK10 3JL

Rebecca Gregory | SEN Contact

01625 783815