Design Technology 

Teaching Staff and Responsibilities

Mrs L Doe: Subject Leader

Mrs S Cadman: Specialist Technician

KS3 (Years 7-9)

How do we organise teaching groups at KS3?

Pupils are taught in groups of up to 22.  They are taught for one double period (100 minutes) a fortnight throughout the whole year.  Pupils are taught in specialist workshops with access to a vast range of tools, machinery  and equipment. 

What are our aims at KS3?

  • To help produce stewards of the planet, students who know their impact on the environment and the importance of making informed choices as consumers.   
  • To Develop forever skills & knowledge in the making of products, centred around the specialised technical tools, processes and techniques needed 
  • Giving students confidence to safely innovate, to take creative risks and to learn from mistakes  

To inspire a love of design and culturally enrich students, exposing them to a diverse range of contexts and real world problems looking back at the past, seeing the present and looking forward to the future

  • To provide regular opportunities for creative development, enabling them to experience life to the full, within the classroom and beyond.
  • Expose students to a curriculum that is designed to be progressive, so that students can build on the skills and knowledge they learn and master them.

What will my daughter learn at KS3?

The National Curriculum aims state the curriculum should ensure that all pupils:

  • 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

Taking the 4 aims of the National Curriculum; Design, Make, Evaluate and Knowledge, the curriculum at Sacred Heart of Mary Girls’ School has been structured to challenge pupils as they move through their key stage in year 7, 8 & 9.  The topics covered will help build the foundations for transition to key stage 4, equipping pupils with the knowledge and skills required to tackle the GCSE course.  

The curriculum for Year 7 pupils aims to introduce pupils to the subject, focusing on practical skills, which for many pupils will be new learning.  The importance of health & safety within the workshop is at the centre of all practical lessons, with clear boundaries and expectations from staff.  Year 7 pupils will learn about all materials groups through a wide range of mini practicals, designed to build skills, confidence and knowledge.

The curriculum for Year 8 builds on the foundation of the learning that took place in the previous year, pushing pupils to develop practical skills while taking on more in depth problem solving tasks.  Pupils are introduced to electronics, creating a working circuit and practically applying knowledge gained in other subject areas.  The first of the technical drawing skills are also introduced in Year 8, helping pupils understand how designers communicate with each other.

The curriculum for Year 9 pushes pupils further, developing their creativity and skills.  Pupils are challenged to explore design in the wider world, looking at their impact on the world as designers through a range of topics including sustainability,  Computer aided design, new and emerging technologies and smart materials.  Pupils have the opportunity to design for real world contexts, producing functioning products using specialist techniques and processes.

Are there any useful websites that will support my daughter’s learning?

KS4/GCSE (Years 10-11) 

How do we organise teaching groups at KS4?

  • GCSE classes are taught in classes of no more than 18 for Health & Safety reasons.  Pupils have access to both the class teacher as well as a highly skilled specialist technician.

Which GCSE specification do we prepare pupils for?

AQA Design and Technology.  Here is a link to the specification for more detailed information: 

What will my daughter learn at KS4?

Our Key Stage 4 curriculum is led by the specification and requirements of the exam board (AQA).  The 2 year GCSE course is taught in a similar way in regard to practical skills; exposing pupils to new skills and practical processes increasing in complexity.  We want to expose pupils to as many skills as possible to empower them to make informed choices during their Non Examination Assessment (NEA).  

Theory is linked to practical tasks in lessons where possible, allowing pupils to get ‘hands on’ with the skill or knowledge needed.  Topics are introduced in a methodical way, with a focus on Timbers as our specialist material for the Examination at the end of the key stage.  Many of the topics are touched on during key stage 3 to allow pupils to have the ability to pull on prior knowledge and understanding.  

In order to make effective design choices students will need a breadth of core technical knowledge and understanding that consists of: 

  • new and emerging technologies 
  • energy generation and storage 
  • developments in new materials 
  • systems approach to designing 
  • mechanical devices 
  • materials and their working properties. All of this section will be taught and all will be assessed.

In addition to the core technical principles, all students should develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the following specialist technical principles: 

  • selection of materials or components 
  • forces and stresses 
  • ecological and social footprint 
  • sources and origins 
  • using and working with materials 
  • stock forms, types and sizes 
  • scales of production 
  • specialist techniques and processes 
  • surface treatments and finishes. 

Are there any useful websites that will support my daughter’s learning?

Future Pathways/Careers