Design and Technology - St Mary's and St John's CE School

Design and Technology


Design and Technology (D&T) is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject that prepares young people to live and work in the designed and made world. At SMSJ, we focus on giving students the tools, knowledge and information they need to serve society by being more effective, more experienced and more efficient designers and makers.  

Through the study of D&T at SMSJ, our students are academically educated to a high standard by staff who are passionate about the subject. We are fortunate to have well resourced, dedicated rooms at our Bennett House and Stamford Raffles campuses to allow flexibility in the projects and the skills we can deliver. Our curriculum is aspirational so that students will have a hope-filled future. We also pride ourselves on the way in which our students can apply their cognitive learning within the classroom to life outside of the classroom. Through their learning, students are shaped in a way, which enables them to deal with a world that is constantly developing and evolving around them with empathy, sympathy and respect.  

Studying D&T includes the use of a broad range of knowledge, skills, and understanding prompting engagement in a wide variety of design-based activities. At KS3, following the National Curriculum for D&T, students design and make products that solve real-life and relevant problems within a variety of contexts using a range of materials and equipment. At KS4, students can build upon their knowledge studying a GCSE in D&T. With a solid foundation in the subject, we hope to be able to offer students the opportunity to study D&T at A-Level in the future. Subjects directly related to D&T can be studied at degree level and the practical nature of the subject often serves students well who want to go on to have careers in Science, Engineering or Mathematics.  


The D&T department hopes that through an ambitious curriculum students will have a clearer view of Design and Technology and its impact on our world. Studying D&T supports students' knowledge and understanding of issues such as: inclusion, emerging technologies, sustainability and social, cultural, economic and environmental responsibilities.  


The D&T department hopes that the skills that students learn will serve them into adulthood. The D&T department provides students the tools required to understand the value of service.  


By being exposed to the world of D&T, students will have the knowledge of what good design is and how it forms everyday life. It is the hope of the D&T department that by studying our subject at SMSJ, students will have the confidence to respect and sustain the natural and made environment around them and in turn will inspire future generations.  


Year 7

In Year 7, students examine the design process focusing on iterative design and looking at how design is not a linear process but one that requires designers to constantly move between researching, designing and testing. An introduction to the concept of D&T in our world and its impact on society and the planet and the part they will play in developing solutions to problems. Students will gain confidence in using a range of basic equipment and materials in our dedicated workshop space. Our curriculum supports students regardless of the foundation they have had in D&T at primary school.  

Year 8

In Year 8, students will develop the skills learned in Year 7 by focusing on a specific area of D&T - Electronics. Students will learn about basic components and electrical circuits as well as learning the skill of soldering. Further development of student's graphic skills will be addressed. Students will understand how they can design and make a product using a simple electronic circuit and consider its packaging and sale.  

Year 9

In our well-equipped, purpose-built D&T workshop; Year 9 students will learn different practical skills using a range of tools and equipment. Projects will closely reflect the new style of GCSE in the subject with students responding to a given ‘context’. Students will be encouraged to continue to think in an iterative manner where students design, model and evaluate at their own pace.  

Year 10

In Year 10, students will gain a broad understanding of key design and making concepts through a range of theoretical and practical activities, focused practical tasks and mock contextual challenges.

Once the Non-exam Assessment (NEA) Contextual Challenge has been released in the summer term (1st June), students will begin to work on this; carrying this on to Year 11. At the end of Year 10, students will sit a mock exam that reflects the areas of the course they have studied thus far.  

Introduction to the Eduqas GCSE D&T subject and specification. Followed by a mini-NEA style practice project one, covering various D&T theory topics and skills. Followed by a mock test.   

Learners are taught to work creatively when designing and making and apply technical and practical expertise, to:  

  • demonstrate their understanding that all design and technological activity takes place within contexts that influence the outcomes of design practice  
  • develop realistic design proposals because of the exploration of design opportunities and users’ needs, wants and values  
  • use imagination, experimentation and combine ideas when designing  
  • develop the skills to critique and refine their own ideas whilst designing and making  
  • communicate their design ideas and decisions using different media and techniques, as appropriate for different audiences at key points in their designing  
  • develop decision making skills, including the planning and organisation of time and resources when managing their own project work  
  • develop a broad knowledge of materials, components and technologies and practical skills to develop high quality, imaginative and functional prototypes  
  • be ambitious and open to explore and take design risks to stretch the development of design proposals, avoiding clichéd or stereotypical responses  
  • consider the costs, commercial viability and marketing of products  
  • demonstrate safe working practices in design and technology  
  • use key design and technology terminology including those related to designing, innovation and communication; materials and technologies; making, manufacture and production; critiquing, values and ethics

Followed by the start of the NEA on 1st June in Year 10, continuing through to Year 11.

Year 11

In Year 11, students will complete the NEA element of the course submitting a working product or prototype supported by a comprehensive design portfolio showing the students design journey. Students will then focus on theoretical knowledge for the final exam in June. Students will sit a full mock GCSE in line with SMSJ’s mock examinations timetable.    

The Autumn and Spring terms will be used to complete the NEA which commenced at the end of Year 10. 

Autumn term mock exams are intended to be an iterative process so the learning activities will be directed by the student and will depend on their project. Following the completion of the NEA, students will be given an opportunity to revise and improve skills through teaching and learning. 

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