Curriculum Leader

Mr M Wilde

Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6)


Pupils join Hexham Middle School and receive two lessons of design and technology every fortnight. Our lessons provide pupils will an experience across a range of related topics and themes considered appropriate within the KS2 National Curriculum.  As pupils arrive at Hexham Middle School from a variety of former school contexts, we regard year 5 as an introduction to the subject, giving pupils the opportunity to build on any existing knowledge and skills, and provide opportunities to build confidence across the subject through them knowing more, doing more and remembering more.


Projects in Key Stage 2 design technology provide coverage of designing, making, evaluating and technical knowledge.

During year 5, pupils undertake 3 units of study in a specialist practical space within the middle school.  At the start of year 5 pupils undertake the Structures: Bridges project, followed by the Stuffed Toy project, and then finishing with the Electronic Greetings Card Project. We believe that this breath provides experience in different specialist areas of the curriculum covering resistant materials, textiles and electronics.  Each project is 6-7 weeks long.

During year 6, pupils undertake 2 units of study, approximately 8 lessons in duration. Pupils start with another project on Structures, but we focus on Playgrounds as a context.  Where as in year 5 there is a careers focus on engineering with the Bridges unit, this year 6 project focus on the role of landscape architecture.  We are keen for pupils to appreciate how the subject of design technology can apply to a variety of contexts in the wider world of work.  This project on environmental design as well as the appropriate age context sets the scene for an engaging unit of study that also builds prototyping and wider essential skills covered in our Skills Builder programme.


Throughout different units of study pupils are given several opportunities to retrieve prior and new knowledge thought the form of low-stakes quizzes and memory retention tasks at the start of lessons.  The very nature of the subject lends itself well to instant verbal feedback.  Adopting a coaching or instructor model of teaching, pupils receive timely feedback to inform their subject-related skills and knowledge.  Pupils use a project booklet for each unit of study which includes key knowledge organisers and a glossary of key terms relevant to their studies.  As reading is a priority across the school, we believe that our focus on vocabulary and reading will not only have an impact within design technology – it will support this broader agenda across other curricular areas.

Quizzes at the end of each unit are regarded as low stakes.  The majority of questions are multiple choice and seek to address potential misconceptions.  Some questions provide opportunities for extended responses that check understanding of key procedural knowledge.

We endeavour that pupils enjoy the subject and both staff and pupils have a vested interest in developing confidence, resilience and greater independence.

Sequence of Learning: KS2

Project 1 – Structures

During this project pupils will create a structure that adopts the principles of triangulation.  They will have the opportunity to use appropriate materials and tools in the workshop.  Students will develop knowledge of the working and aesthetic properties of timber.  Pupils will also prototype bridge structures exploring bridge types such as beam, arch and truss structures.  The practical elements of this unit is group based but pupils have their own work booklet to record knowledge gains. 


Project 2 – Stuffed Toy

This project provides pupils with any opportunity to develop a creative design solution whilst exploring a range of stitching techniques to make a textiles product.  All pupils produce their own outcome which is evaluated by themselves and peers.  Knowledge of material properties are an integral part of the unit, ensuring that pupils are able to use key terms accurately. 


Project 3 – Electronic Greetings Card

This unit of study gives pupils an opportunity to learn about electrical systems as well as generate their own ideas for a product.  Students will understand the function of some basic electronic components and how to construct an electronic circuit. As pupils grow in confidence to evaluate their outcomes, an increased focus on user requirements is explored. 

Project 1 –  Structures: Playground

This unit of study draws on pupils existing knowledge of design and making skills.  Pupils have a range of materials to produce a prototype for a playground structure.  A key element of study will explore how pupils can strengthen and reinforce materials to help produce a successful model.  As pupils grow in confidence in their appreciation of design aesthetics, they get the opportunity to test and evaluate design decisions as both self and peer formative assessment.   


Project 2 – Automata

The final unit of study for year 6 is a group-based project inviting pupils to make an automata using primarily timber and card.  As a Skills Builder school, we actively seek opportunities for pupils to develop their teamwork, leadership and communication skills.  Pupils will have to follow a set of instructions to make the product on time.  This encourages pupils to show some essential habits, including organisation and critical thinking.  We know that working in groups can at times be challenging; we like to give pupils opportunities to remain positive and demonstrate the required motivation to succeed. 

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 and 8)


As pupils enter Key Stage 3, they will utilise the specialist facilities located in the high school design and technology department. Pupils will build upon their knowledge, skills and understanding from Key Stage 2 and apply this to projects throughout the academic year. 


At Key Stage 3, key learning outcomes will be achieved and evidenced in the completion of a range of projects that allow the students to access the associated skills and knowledge of the subject.  Key subject skills will be taught and applied during a combination of focused practical tasks and design and skills-based projects. 


Assessment opportunities in design technology will be used to check for retention of knowledge and an awareness of key subject concepts and procedures.  We expect pupils to take pride in the presentation of their project booklets and to respond effectively to the feedback they receive to improve their learning.  Written evidence and drawing tasks in booklets will provide a useful narrative of pupils’ engagement with the design and make process.  The quality of a pupil’s design and practical outcomes will be assessed against set criteria.  They will also undertake a summative assessments to provide both themselves and the teacher meaningful progress data.

Home-based learning

At Key Stage 3 will complement studies in the classroom.  Pupils will be expected to develop and apply their researching and mathematical skills, undertake pre-reading opportunities to support literacy, develop potential design solutions and demonstrate an ability to reflect and evaluate. 

Sequence of Learning: KS3

Year 7 is comprised of several projects that allow students to access the range of skills and knowledge associated with design and technology. Students have one lesson a week for the duration of the academic year. 

Project 1

This initial project delivers a range of practical skills and subject knowledge associated with plastic materials. Students will be able to select and use tools and equipment to mark out and shape acrylic into an egg-cup design. During this project students will also learn about the properties and characteristics of plastic materials and the environmental impact of plastics.

Project 2

Using the Italian design company Alessi as design inspiration, pupils will interpret the key features and apply them to their own design for a desk tidy. Students will also be taught a range of presentation skills and design strategies to help them produce and communicate their ideas.


Project 3

In this project students will design and manufacture their own electronic steady hand game. The pupils will learn a range of practical skills to mark out and manufacture a timber-based casing. Additionally, students will develop their knowledge of electrical components and learn how to join these together in a circuit using soft soldering. Students will also apply their own design ideas to a themed background for the steady hand game.


Project 4

This project seeks to provide pupils with a grounding knowledge of computer aided design and manufacture. The students will be taught the basic functions of the 2D-design software to draw and manipulate their own key ring design. The key ring will then be manufactured by a laser cutter using computer aided design. 

Year 8

Year 8 mirrors the structure and intent set out in year 7. Students receive an hour of design and technology a week for the duration of the academic year. The year is comprised of several projects that allow students to access the range of design and manufacturing skills and knowledge associated with design and technology.


Project 1

This initial project delivers a range of practical skills and subject knowledge associated with metals. Students will be able to select and use tools and equipment to mark out and shape a piece of mild steel into a coat hook product. During this project students will also learn about the properties and characteristics of metals.


Project 2

During this project students will design and manufacture a textile-based Christmas decoration.  Students will be taught a range of design strategies to help them produce ideas and presentation skills to communicate their thoughts. The students will develop a range of practical skills and processes to mark out and fabricate their designs. Alongside these elements the students will learn about different categories and properties of a range of materials used in the textile industry.


Project 3

The 3rd project in the year aims to develop the presentation skills used throughout the design industry to communicate ideas and information. The students will learn about a range of drawing techniques including orthographic, isometric and oblique drawing and get the opportunity to practice and perfect their graphic communication skills.


Project 4

In this project the students will design a light for a chosen target market. This creative design-based project seeks to provide pupils with the opportunity to apply their design and graphic communication skills. The students will learn to analyse sources of information to inform their designs and be able to develop and modify design specifications for their product.


Project 5

During the final project of the year the students will aim to develop their knowledge and skills of working with timber to produce a mobile phone holder. The students will be able to design a product to a list of given criteria and then manufacture the design using a range of tools and processes associated with shaping, joining and finishing timber. The students will also learn about the categories and properties associated with these materials. 

Curriculum Sequence

You can download a PDF copy of the Curriculum Sequence here.


All learners with additional needs access a broad and rich classroom experience with a well-planned curriculum both within and beyond the classroom. Pupils with additional needs are enabled to achieve well by:

      • High quality planning, teaching and learning across the curriculum.
      • Adaptations made in teaching and learning to ensure all pupils succeed and learn well.
      • Staff responding to learners’ needs and adapting teaching as a result.
      • Teaching staff planning and delivering a wide range of high-quality interventions and support sessions.
      • High-quality ‘Pupil Profiles’ which ensure staff know each child as an individual, including how to support their learning.
      • Where appropriate, an ‘Individual Education Plan’ with bespoke and individualised targets is implemented, and regularly reviewed.
      • For learners with an ‘Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)’, a wide range of individualised targets and support strategies are implemented in a multi-agency approach.
      • Coordinating our ambitious support in school alongside a multi-agency approach to ensure that all pupils achieve their full potential.

As part of our implementation model – the ’10 Elements of Great Teaching’ – our teaching and support staff will enable pupils with additional needs to thrive by:

      • Planning well-sequenced lessons which build progressively in small steps.
      • Implementing the school’s lesson design principles so that teachers gradually handover the learning through guided and independent practice.
      • Maintaining a calm, focused, inclusive and positive environment for learning in all classrooms.
      • Implementing a wide range of strategies to empower pupils to remember more over time and to check that this is the case.
      • Using metacognitive strategies to encourage self-regulation and to plan, monitor and evaluate learning.
      • Delivering expectations and instructions clearly in small steps.
      • Teaching subject-specific vocabulary (tier 3), alongside tier 2 vocabulary, and ensuring that it is used and retained.
      • Using a wide range of teaching resources and materials to support all learners including visual and audio resources.
      • Using high-quality modelling in lessons through the ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach.
      • Using a wide range of scaffolds to support learning including writing frames, planning structures, word processing.
      • Providing high-quality worked examples which narrate the learning, steps and processes so that pupils develop their independence of learning.
      • Using organisers such as ‘Knowledge Organisers’, diagrams, planning structures and writing frames to support pupils’ learning.
      • Allowing pupils to record their ideas in a range of ways including, where necessary, by using online resources and visual/audio support.
      • Providing word lists/vocabulary banks to support pupils’ access to learning.
      • Using sentence stems to promote positive talk and discussion.
      • Using flexible groupings in the classroom so that pupils can learn alongside and from each other.
      • Implementing dyslexia-friendly approach to reading and writing tasks.
      • Modelling thinking out loud strategies across the curriculum.
      • Using a wide range of technologies including online resources, voice recording and visualisers to model worked examples.