What do we study in Design Technology at Ridgeway?

Why do we study Technology at Ridgeway?

At KS3 all students complete lessons in both Food and Design.

Why do we study Design Technology?

Design Technology at Ridgeway Secondary School has at its core creativity and imagination, allowing students to develop their understanding of specific aspects of the subject such as product design, electronics, textiles, and graphics. The DT department encourages students to design and make products that solve genuine, relevant problems within different contexts whilst considering their own and others’ needs, wants, and values. They will acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on additional disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. In this way, we are therefore able to fully support Ridgeway 360°.

Design Technology programme of study at Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

Through a variety of creative and practical activities, pupils will be taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making. They will be encouraged to identify and solve their own design problems and develop their design ideas using annotated sketches, detailed plans, 3-D computer aided design and mathematical modelling. Through students’ designs they will be taught how to use specialist tools, incorporate different techniques, and use machinery precisely, including computer-aided manufacture.

In addition to developing their own design skills and knowledge students are encouraged to analyse the work of past and present professionals to help them to develop and broaden their understanding of design. At Ridgeway students also investigate new and emerging technologies in order to understand their impact on individuals, society and the environment, and therefore the global and environmental responsibilities of designers.


The Design Technology programme is planned to develop the creative, technical and practical skills needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world. They build progressively as skills are developed upon each year enabling students to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in order to design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users. At the end of each project students are  directed to critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and evaluate their suitability to the tasks set.

Since Design Technology requires the use of a range of materials and equipment, the safe and correct use of tools is built into all of the projects for every age group so as to develop a responsible person who not only understands the clear expectations of behaviour that are set but who also understands the values of Ready , Respectful and safe.

Design Technology programme of study at Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)

In Key Stage 4 students will acquire subject knowledge in design technology that builds on key stage 3, incorporating knowledge and understanding of different materials and manufacturing processes in order to design and make, with confidence, prototypes in response to issues, needs, problems and opportunities. Students will learn how to take design risks, which will help them to understand the impact of design on daily life and the importance of technology to the creativity, culture, sustainability, and well-being of the global community.

The AQA GCSE offered to students in Key Stage 4 requires students to demonstrate the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills required to undertake iterative design processes of exploring, creating and evaluating.

The knowledge, understanding and skills that all students must develop have been separated into:

  • technical principles
  • designing and making principles

The course is divided equally between theoretical and practical, to mirror the allocation of the final examination marks (50% written paper, 50% non-examination practical coursework)

Why do we study Food and Nutrition?


In line with national curriculum guidelines students should be taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Instilling a love of cooking in students will also open a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables pupils to feed themselves and others affordably and well, now and in later life.

The students will be taught the following key topics:

  • Understand and apply the principles of nutrition and health
  • Cook a repertoire of predominantly savoury dishes so that they are able to feed themselves and others a healthy and varied diet
  • Become competent in a range of cooking techniques (for example, selecting and preparing ingredients; using utensils and electrical equipment; applying heat in different ways; using awareness of taste, texture and smell to decide how to season dishes and combine ingredients; adapting and using their own recipes).
  • Understand the source, seasonality and characteristics of a broad range of ingredients.


GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition equips learners with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to cook and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating. It encourages learners to cook, enables them to make informed decisions about food and nutrition and allows them to acquire knowledge in order to be able to feed themselves and others affordably and nutritiously, now and later in life.

The students will explore the following:

  • Be able to demonstrate effective and safe cooking skills by planning, preparing and cooking a variety of food commodities whilst using different cooking techniques and equipment.
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of the functional properties and chemical characteristics of food as well as a sound knowledge of the nutritional content of food and drinks.
  • Understand the relationship between diet, nutrition and health, including the physiological and psychological effects of poor diet and health.
  • Understand the economic, environmental, ethical and socio-cultural influences on food availability, production processes, diet and health choices.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of functional and nutritional properties, sensory qualities and microbiological food safety considerations when preparing, processing, storing, cooking and serving food.
  • Understand and explore a range of ingredients and processes from different culinary traditions (traditional British and international) to inspire new ideas or modify existing recipes.

Homework expectations

In Key  Stage 3 homework is used in the department to encourage students to develop personal responsibility by providing opportunities for them to solve problems, to research materials in preparation for future lessons, to refine skills covered previously and to consolidate learning.  Students are required to complete one piece of homework, lasting no more than 30 minutes, every fortnight.  For Food, KS3 students will be assigned homework tasks based on knowledge mats and will be assessed on their learning in lessons.

In Key Stage 4 the homework will again be one piece of work but should be approximately one hour in length to complete and be set every two weeks. This may again be in the form of research tasks, however will more often be in the form of examination questions, and SENECA. For Food, GCSE students will be assigned homework on a weekly basis in line with school policy. The type of homework tasks will vary but could include exam questions, research, practicing food skills and recalling learning from a previous lesson.

How can parents and guardians support at home?

There are a range of ways in which parents and guardians can support students at home. By regularly checking the delivery grid to see what will be studied that half term, relevant conversations to prepare for students for the topics that may take place in lessons can be facilitated at home. This will also support understanding and access of their opinions on content covered, further developing their wider understanding of design and technology in the world.

Useful websites are :

Some other techniques that might help students when preparing revision materials are:

  • Using images to connect key concepts and links together – such images can really help some students to remember content;
  • Producing a mind-map to visually display key concepts and knowledge included in a topic;
  • Obtaining a CGP revision guide to help direct revision before an assessment;

Enrichment opportunities

Students will get the chance to speak to external speakers in areas such as Graphic Designer, Textiles/Fashion Designer and Resistant Materials . Students will also get the chance to go on trips to local companies in the metal/wood industry as well as visiting IKEA to focus on deigns and materials.