Design & Technology

In Design & Technology at Caterham High School we aim to deliver technology as a worthwhile and enjoyable experience that is taught with enthusiasm; preparing students to become effective and considerate consumers of products.  With so much of the world around us today being designed and manufactured; products such as cars, gadgets, fast food packaging and advertising for example, we need to be able to make decisions about products that will not have a negative impact upon the environment or the wellbeing of others.  We also aim to teach the skills needed to be able to become designers of these types of products or work within the manufacturing industry.  In Food and Textiles technology we offer students invaluable life skills to be used on a daily basis either through employment or as a hobby.

In design and technology 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. National Curriculum for D&T – QCA

Our department is split over two areas.  The first is our Food/Textiles area which consists of two food rooms and one textiles room staffed by 3 teachers and two part time technicians.  The second suite of rooms comprises of two Resistant Materials workshops, one multi purpose Graphics/RM workshop, a computer suite and one dedicated Graphics suite with computers and CAD/CAM facilities including 2 Laser cutters, cutter plotters, midi mills and a 3D Modella scanner/cutter.  In this area we have four teachers and one full time technician.

We believe that it is important that pupils of all ages can:

  • Work individually and together in teams to explore and develop ideas.
  • Analyse existing products from the past and present, making critical comments about them that will enable students to think of ways to improve the product.
  • Understand the moral, social, cultural and emotional impact of design in the world that we live in.
  • Understand the need to consider the environment and sustainability when designing and making products and choosing products to buy.
  • Make choices regarding the economic impact of their decisions by working out the costs involved.
  • Be able to work with a range of different materials including, compliant graphic materials, resistant materials, electronics, ICT, food and textiles.
  • Understand the need to consider lifestyle choices regarding healthy eating and nutrition to improve health and well being.
  • Develop their manufacturing capabilities across all material areas, working with care and accuracy.
  • Use ICT and CAD/CAM to make high quality products.
  • Develop their confidence in expressing their ideas to others and their own self esteem.
  • Develop their creativity and problem solving skills by being curious, showing initiative, ingenuity and resourcefulness.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of health and safety for themselves and others.

Our Expectations

We expect all pupils to behave in a sensible and safe manner and ask all pupils and parents/carers to sign a contract to agree to this. 

We expect all pupils to show respect to other people and treat them in the same way as they would expect to be treated themselves.  This includes teachers, fellow pupils, technical and support staff.

We expect all students to complete class work to the best of their ability, taking care with presentation and the quality of work produced.
We have high expectations of our students and aim to motivate them to achieve the highest grades possible.

We expect pupils to regularly complete the homework that is set; all homework tasks can be seen on the school website via homework online.  These frequently have additional support documents attached to help pupils in the completion of their work. 

We expect pupils to arrive to class prepared.  This means bringing the correct equipment or resources for that lesson i.e. pencils, colour pencils, food ingredients.

Key Stage 3

In Design & Technology at KS3 time is split between lessons in DT [graphics resistant materials and electronics] and Food/Textiles.  During these lessons pupils undertake projects   that develop their experiences, skills and knowledge over the 3 years.  Learning the basic use of tools and equipment to make quality products they are also are introduced to the design process and are taught the importance of health and safety.  During Year 9 they then have the option of taking up one of the several KS4 DT options available.  In DT there is a small cover charge is applied to each practical project which is then taken home.

Resources needed: During your lessons you will need a range of basic equipment such as pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, rubber, ruler and colouring pencils.  Students are also required to bring their own ingredients for practical food technology lessons.

Year 7

  • Torch Project: Introduction to CAD/CAM, plastics and design for a target market.
  • Bottle Opener: Introduction to simple mechanisms, working with metals and ergonomic considerations.
  • Pull-Along Toy: Introduction to working with wood and machine skills.

Year 8

Electronics – Sensors, chips and basic electronic components

Graphics: CD Wallet.  Design and manufacture of a promotional free CD wallet using CAD skills.  Development of graphics skills and knowledge.

Structures:  Team work used to design and build a structure that is tested to destruction.  Theory input and historical/scientific insight into structures and how they were and still are developed and used.

Year 9

In year 9 students choose a DT option of their choice to enable them to develop the subject specific skills needed for a GCSE course.  Projects could include the following dependent upon subject choice: 

  • Jewellery: prototype modelling and development of a metal piece of jewellery.
  • Mechanical Toy: Linkages to develop a simple card linkage toy and also a wooden mechanical toy using cams, pulleys and linkages.
  • Graphics: Sustainable Pie Packaging for a fast food outlet.

Key Stage 4

Resources needed: During your lessons you will need a range of basic equipment such as pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, rubber, ruler and colouring pencils.  You would also benefit from having an A3 folder and a USB memory stick.   In Food technology students are required to bring their own ingredients for practical sessions.  In Textiles they will be required to provide fabric for their final exam piece.  In Graphics/Product Design/Resistant Materials and Construction a cover  charge for the year will provide all materials needed for projects.

Options available:

Graphics [OCR]
Resistant Materials [OCR]
Product Design [OCR]
Food [AQA]
Textiles [AQA]



Within Design & Technology we run a number of activities and trips.   These include the ‘New Designers’ exhibition in the summer for our year 11 and 12 students, where they can see work from graduates at universities all over the country.  We also visit the Design Museum and Vitra to look at design and explore how products are designed to meet various consumer needs.

As part of our aim to explore the work of past designers and products we also look to the Victoria & Albert museum to inspire creativity within our young designers.  

Looking at design in a wider context we offer our A-Level students the opportunity to visit Disneyland Paris to take part in a series of workshops run by study experiences.  In these workshops students can find out how the Disney team create a brand identity across all of their commercial goods as well as find out how technology is used in the attractions; everything from the mechanisms in the machines, to materials for the costumes and floats.

For Key Stage 4 Textiles students there is the annual ‘Clothes Show Live’ at the NEC in Birmingham.  Fun fashion for all.

Useful Links


Design & Technology Date  
KS4 D&T Options 31st Jul 2017 Download