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Design and Technology

D&T, at Puss Bank, inspires children's creativity and encourages them to problem solve, using a design brief, to make functional products. It is important that children are able to evaluate real-life products, their own work, and that of other children, and be able to adapt their design accordingly. Children are to be innovative, and are actively encouraged to think about important issues, such as sustainability and enterprise.


  • Food Preparation: The children are encouraged to understand the importance of two main strands: food hygiene and nutritional values. From Early Years each child will have the opportunity to use food preparation implements (such as knives) and to prepare simple foods. As the children progress throughout school they will investigate which foods are healthier than others, and how to maintain the freshness of food.


  • Materials & Construction: Designing and making objects is central to the essence of D&T, and forms a significant proportion of our curriculum. From Early Years onwards, the children are encouraged to experiment with a variety of construction media, from cardboard boxes to simple axles and wheels. As the children learn more about attaching materials together they are encouraged to use more sophisticated construction methods (such as hinges) and measuring with increasing accuracy.


  • Textiles: Beginning with simple design and weaving techniques, the children will gradually extend joining methods from simple running stitches to back stitch etc. Gradually the children will design their own products, utilising a range of criteria, such as leaving a seam allowance. 

The Design and Technology curriculum in our school is designed to facilitate a sense of experimentation using a range of materials and foods (within a safe environment). Children need to be aware that products need to be designed before they are constructed, and that design criteria often need to be amended to suit changing circumstances. The whole experience of Design and Technology at our school is therefore didactic, where children learn through experience, and by making mistakes. As the children gain more experience with skills throughout each key stage, they will be able to use scientific and mathematical skills to create a range of more advanced structures and foods. By working with a variety of materials and products over the years, each child will thereby learn how to adapt materials and construction techniques to fit ever changing criteria.


Early Years
In Early Years, children learn through play.  Using the continuous provision, children begin by exploring media, materials and tools and progress to making choices in these which are matched to purpose.  Children make simple (non-measured) cuts to a variety of media, ranging from card and paper to string, Sellotape etc.  Children are allowed to experiment with properties and practicality of materials e.g. making a tall tower (choosing the appropriate shapes) or looking at whether things will float. 
Children then begin to develop planning and evaluation skills e.g. using appropriate colours to decorate construction pieces, to adding feathers to a kite because it both looks good and will not increase the weight threshold.
Children explore cause and effect, using different wheels, vehicles and blocks.  This stimulates an understanding of basic scientific principles, such as balance from a pivot point and creating ramps for different purposes. 
Children will also understand how to cut fruit and vegetables safely, and the importance of hand washing and basic hygiene.


Year 1
Food preparation continues with a large focus on hygiene, both applicable to hand washing and utensils, as well as how different utensils serve a different purpose.
Children learn how softer fruit/vegetables can be cut using non-serrated knives, whereas carrots can be sliced using grating due to the hardness of the vegetable.
Year 1 pupils also compare a range of food types, categorising them into healthy and non-healthy, and put this into practice by making a vegetable broth.  Part of the process involves using a variety of cutting implements (serrated and non-serrated blades, and peelers).  They also begin to understand where their food comes from.  
In construction the pupils assemble using a wider range of materials than was used in Foundation.  Pupils are set challenges to build a structure to get a toy car across a bridge.  They focus on thinking carefully about shape and the materials they need.  They look at a variety of bridges and use these to develop their own ideas.  They explore how their designs can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable, often using recyclable materials.  They then assess their work against the design brief


Year 2
Pupils build on their understanding in Year 1 to explore how to cut, grate and peel a wider range of fruit of vegetables. This includes using a wider range of utensils, including serrated knives. The pupils explore the best methods of cutting food types, for example understanding that a downward motion using a cutting board is far safer than cutting up towards your body.
The pupils evaluate and make a series of snacks, exploring and evaluating types of food (such as candyfloss versus fruit) and which they think is most healthy.  
Ingredients are measured using cups and simple weighing scales, to the nearest half kg. Using these scales means the pupils are becoming familiar with concepts, such as there being 1000 grammes to a kg.
At this stage of their development Year 2 pupils begin to understand the health advantages of a balanced diet.  In scientific terms, they become more aware of how carbohydrates, fats and proteins can only be consumed in moderation, as parts of a meal.   
The pupils design and build something to carry water over a distance, working out which construction materials will be most suitable.  Linked to this is an element of problem solving, for example what happens to motion if axles are not aligned accurately?
Choosing appropriate materials is essential to fulfil design criteria, for example a chassis made out of cardboard will move much easier than one made out of wood, because of the ratio of weight to friction and the need to reduce the friction by reducing weight (science links).
Pupils learn about warp and weft to explain how cloth is made, and an essential part of their development includes joining textiles using a running stitch.  They are given a challenge where they are asked to join pieces of materials together and provide a basic function to the object, such as how to make a puppet.

Year 3
In Year 3, food preparation is extended to include use of recipes. Recipes require measuring ingredients within a much finer margin of error, measuring ingredients to the nearest 20g.  For the unit on dips, they begin by evaluating different types of dips, the pupils experiment with a range of flavours and textures, evaluating their own personal favourites as they go.
Pupils continue to explore more about hygiene, understanding how microbes can be eradicated using simple soap and water. In addition, they will have the opportunity to classify and compare food types, comparing animal to plant based food. Pupils begin to explore the difference between carbohydrates and fat (building on work from KS1) as they explore and experiment with a variety of foods.
In construction the emphasis is on the selection of appropriate tools to suit the material. Safety forms an integral part of this, and the need to use goggles, gloves and cutting blocks as appropriate.
Linked to this is an appreciation of the properties of materials, such as why plastic is more malleable than wood when bending materials, this will build on their work in KS1 where they learnt appropriate materials used for bridges and vehicles.  When making, the pupils look at a commercial products and discuss the merits of properties and materials. They develop their ideas by designing and building their own products. This will include deciding on the appropriate shape, construction materials and how to fix the components together.
The pupils link previous knowledge and skills to ascertain which materials are best suited to their product.  By experimenting with a range of materials they will be able to establish which ones are lightweight enough to work effectively. Pupils will be able to test a range of materials themselves and evaluate each one as they go along for its suitability against their own design.  Linked to this is deciding which fixing techniques are best in different situations.  
Pupils also research how technology has changed the world. 


Year 4
In Year 4, the concept of a balanced diet is developed even further. Food types are researched and explored to identify those foods which contain carbohydrates and proteins. Using this knowledge, menus are identified and recipes adapted to suit, with ingredients measured to the nearest gramme.
Knowledge of more advanced cooking techniques is developed, such as controlling the temperature of an oven or hob to prepare food and kill off any bacteria which may be harmful to humans. 
When constructing pupils are expected to mark and measure materials to the nearest mm, and to apply appropriate cutting and shaping techniques. This may include cutting materials other than using straight lines, such as slots and cut outs, where awareness of the perimeter and accurate measuring is essential.  
Year 4 need to apply their learning to a given design project.  Electrical items, such as lights and buzzers, are added to their products.  
Using textiles, pupils become more aware of the importance of decoration within product design in order to make it more appealing to potential purchasers. 


Year 5
With an increased awareness of microbes, Year 5 pupils are expected to understand the importance of storage and handling of food. They focus on Great British Food, looking at some traditional British foods provides the opportunity to delve into changes to our palate over the last 70 years or so.  By making and tasting a range of foods from around the world (India, Italy etc) pupils begin to appreciate the concept of “Fusion Cuisine”, and its place in providing a balanced diet to modern Britons. The concept of “air miles” will be considered, especially for foods which are imported into Britain but which could be substituted for locally sourced produce.

Pupils apply this knowledge to design their own biscuits, using ingredients from all over the world. They learn to devise, and adapt, their own recipes to suit not only their palate, but that of their friends as well. Is it possible to create edible biscuits using Asian style spices?
When constructing the emphasis is not only on cutting to size, but with an eye to the finish of the final product. This will require a greater range of techniques to be applied, such as using sanding blocks to both reduce size, and to improve the finish. Drilling, screwing and nailing techniques are important methods of construction.  Using these skills, the children will design, make and evaluate a movable toy (thinking back to the work they did in Y2 and Y4 on moving vehicles). Pupils design a toy for a younger child to play with. They learn that a cam mechanism is a linkage system which has a follower to convert rotary movement to linear movement, and explore different examples of these in existing, commercial moving toys.
Closely linked to this is an investigation to explore which materials provide both the best finish, but which are also strong and comfortable (for example the children could decide to add extra supports to keep cams moving in a linear motion, but only through empirical knowledge of creating their own cam toys.) This project will be evaluated by their target audience (e.g Year 1).
Pupils will also focus on the use of more complex electrical systems and programming toys using computerised software and hardware. 


Year 6
A more sophisticated approach to food preparation will be introduced into Year 6. Recipes can be measured and adapted, using ratios of ingredients to scale up or down from the recipe, depending on how many people the food is being prepared for.  Linked to this will be an understanding of how to refine recipes, for example to suit different tastes and how cooking time affects a product.
Extra categorisation of foods into groups will enhance the concept of a balanced/healthy lifestyle, building on the work from KS1 and early KS2.
Food types will continue to be used to link the more scientific principles, for example how dehydrated food tends to last longer than hydrated food. Why some foods decompose quicker than others and how to make containers as air-tight as possible.

In construction, a greater understanding of how a range of materials can be assembled is developed.   Their products will also incorporate pulleys or gears. 
Using textiles, Year 6 pupils become more aware of how cloth can be both visually aesthetic, and tactile. They will use computer aided design.

In Year 3, they looked at applying simple techniques to improve the aesthetics of a product. In Year 6 the pupils decide whether this aesthetic is appropriate for a potential consumer.  
Using scientific knowledge gained in Year 3, where pupils compared the relative properties of wood and cardboard, pupils in Year 6 will look at materials against a wider set of criteria: comfort, strength, durability etc. 
Pupils also investigate how science, and scientists, have made our world what it is today, with a focus on China.