Design Technology

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.

Charles Mingus

The Design Technology Department

  • Alan Rebello: - MA, BA (Hons), PGCE - Subject Leader
  • Jen Newbitt: BA (Hons), PGCE
  • Mr P Dixon
  • Sarah Dempsey: Food Technology Technician
  • Richard Mills: Product Design Technician

Design Technology at The John Fisher School

The Design and Technology department at The John Fisher School aims for pupils combine practical and technological skills with creative thinking to design and make products and systems that meet human needs. They learn to use current technologies and consider the impact of future technological developments. They learn to think creatively and intervene to improve the quality of life, solving problems as individuals and members of a team.

Lesson by lesson students are encouraged to learn from the local ethos, community and wider world, pupils identify needs and opportunities. They respond with ideas, products and systems, challenging expectations where appropriate. They combine practical and intellectual skills with an understanding of aesthetic, technical, cultural, health, social, emotional, economic, industrial and environmental issues. As they do so, they evaluate present and past design and technology, and its uses and effects. Through Design and Technology pupils develop confidence in using practical skills and become discriminating users of products. They apply their creative thinking and learn to innovate.

Key Concepts

During Key Stage 3 the main concepts that structure the curriculum include:


  • Use research and exploration, such as the study of different cultures, to identify and understand user needs
  • Identify and solve their own design problems and understand how to reformulate problems given to them
  • Develop specifications to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that respond to needs in a variety of situations
  • Use a variety of approaches, such as biomimicry and user-centred design, to generate creative ideas and avoid stereotypical responses
  • Develop and communicate design ideas using annotated sketches, detailed plans, 3-D and mathematical modelling, oral and digital presentations and computer-based tools


  • Select from and use specialist tools, techniques, processes, equipment and machinery precisely, including computer-aided manufacture
  • Select from and use a wider, more complex range of materials, components and ingredients, taking into account their properties


  • Analyse the work of past and present professionals and others to develop and broaden their understanding
  • Investigate new and emerging technologies
  • Test, evaluate and refine their ideas and products against a specification, taking into account the views of intended users and other interested groups
  • Understand developments in design and technology, its impact on individuals, society and the environment, and the responsibilities of designers, engineers and technologists

Technical knowledge

  • Understand and use the properties of materials and the performance of structural elements to achieve functioning solutions
  • Understand how more advanced mechanical systems used in their products enable changes in movement and force
  • Understand how more advanced electrical and electronic systems can be powered and used in their products, such as circuits with heat, light, sound and movement as inputs and outputs
  • Apply computing and use electronics to embed intelligence in products that respond to inputs such as sensors, and control outputs such as actuators, using programmable components such as microcontrollers.

Key Processes

Students should be able to:

  • Generate, develop, model and communicate ideas in a range of ways, using appropriate strategies.    
  • Respond creatively  to briefs, developing their own proposals and producing specifications for products
  • Applying their knowledge and understanding of a range of materials, ingredients and technologies to design and make their products.
  • Use their understanding of others’ designing to inform their own.
  • Plan and organise activities and then shape, form, mix, assemble and finish materials, components or ingredients
  • evaluate which hand and machine tools, equipment and computer-aided design/manufacture (CAD/CAM) facilities are the most appropriate to use
  • solve technical problems
  • Reflect critically when evaluating and modifying their ideas and proposals to improve products throughout their development and manufacture.

Setting arrangements and Curriculum Time

In both Key Stages students are taught in mixed ability groups in Design and Technology and over the two weeks of the school timetable.  Key Stage 3 will have two 100 minute lessons. Key stage four will have two 100 minute lesson and one 50 minute lessons.


Homework is set once a week and collected in during the following lesson.  Students are expected to work independently, researching where necessary, using the school library or, where appropriate, the Internet. Homework must always be completed to a high standard with care taken over spelling, punctuation, grammar and presentation of work.   

Curriculum Opportunities

Throughout the year students will have the opportunity to develop personal skills of reflection, creative thinking and speaking and listening. In lessons students will develop their ability to work on their own as well as part of a group and also the own personal learning and thinking skills. They will begin to confidently self manage their work, becoming effective participators and good team workers.

Extra Curricular Opportunities

The department offers students the chance to visit manufacturing industries and exhibitions, in order to assist their understanding. Students are welcome in the department to attend one of the many weekly activities such as food technology club, RMT club and technology support club. For GCSE and A Level students there are after school sessions to assist with preparation for the controlled assessment and also seminars often led by guest speakers.