The Importance of DT in the Primary School Curriculum

Written by Dan

Last updated

As teachers, we understand the importance of providing our students with a well-rounded education that extends far beyond the core curriculum.

Design and Technology (DT) is an essential component of this ethos, offering children opportunities to broaden their creative thinking while building physical and mental skills critical for development.

Not only can DT provide excellent learning experiences, but it enables students to explore new ideas in relevant contexts that help enhance their knowledge and understanding in other classes, too.

From engaging with problem-solving tasks to taking project-based approaches, we’ll explore why DT should be front and centre in any primary school curriculum!

Related: For more, check out our article on The Importance Of Art In The Primary Curriculum  here.

Importance of DT

Why is DT such an essential subject in School?

Design and Technology (DT) is a crucial subject in school because it teaches students to question problems or their environment and find innovative solutions for them.

It introduces kids to the principles of designing and making products that help solve real-world problems.

DT helps cultivate skills such as creativity and problem-solving that are often neglected in traditional academic classes.

It encourages children to think critically by equipping them with the tools to bring their ideas to life and allows them to work collaboratively with one another.

Moreover, DT can instil a greater appreciation of why certain objects have been designed the way they have been, thus helping students understand the historical meaning behind things like chairs or buildings much better.

All these reasons make design technology an essential part of a student’s educational experience.

How can we break up the DT curriculum?


Teaching Design and Technology (DT) in school is an essential opportunity for students to learn how to create solutions and apply their learning from other parts of the curriculum to develop products that may be used in real life.

By understanding design deeply, students can better plan and execute tasks that require problem-solving and creativity.

Tying this knowledge into future-oriented thinking and careers makes it even more valuable as our world becomes increasingly tech-focused.

Learning about DT can help students understand the science behind processes, develop valuable skills such as communication and collaboration, better appreciate the engineering process, and eventually lead them to understand the rules of making commercial-level products safe for use.

Teaching designing within DT helps equip our students with the skills they will need in the years ahead when choosing further education or career paths.


DT encourages critical thinking, allowing pupils to experiment and discover, enabling them to challenge traditional ways of working or understanding the world around them.

By providing young people with the opportunity to design and make different things, DT helps nurture transferable skills which are invaluable for their future career prospects.

The basics of construction, engineering principles, product design, graphic design and more which they can obtain while learning DT in school, will serve as a foundation for them being able u to embrace emerging technologies such as 3D Printing, Robotics or Artificial Intelligence.

Through acquiring practical experience in designing and making products, students are provided chances to develop inventiveness and a better understanding of how things work; making them future-ready and prepared to be flexible in any professional environment they may encounter.


Developing evaluation skills is an essential part of teaching Design Technology (DT) in the classroom.

Evaluating and assessing ideas, activities, products, services and processes can help students think logically about their work and make informed decisions.

This skill is also applicable to everyday life – from asking empowering questions such as “What have I learnt?”, “What was successful?” or “Are there any limitations I need to address?” when reflecting on a task or activity, to being able to identify strengths and areas for improvement within personal commitments, relationships and daily lives.

Furthermore, these skills are transferable to future career paths. Understanding why evaluation is necessary, how it can be carried out effectively and how constructive feedback may benefit those involved are all important aspects that should certainly be explored while teaching DT in school.

Overall, teaching DT with an emphasis on evaluation allows students to challenge themselves and their ideas through meaningful dialogue and critical thinking – equipping them with valuable skills for life.

Food and Nutrition

Teaching Design technology in school is a necessary part of the curriculum, and understanding food and nutrition is an important topic to include.

Teaching children about the basics of good nutrition can help them set themselves up for future success in their own lives and potential jobs.

Knowing which foods are healthy and offer essential nutrients can improve long-term health outcomes and make cooking enjoyable.

Developing these skills at a young age also helps children develop creativity when making their own meals.

Being mindful of which ingredients to buy and how to prepare them properly are skills they can use both now and later in their professional careers. Learning how different types of food impact our bodies can also inform better decision-making about what to consume when we’re older.

Understanding these elements of DT ensures that young people can thrive both while staying at home and out on the broader world.

Importance of DT

How can we assess DT?

Assessing Design Technology in schools can be challenging but rewarding for teachers. In the classroom, the best approach is to focus on the student’s growth and progress from various assignments.

Assessments may include oral tests, presentations and critiques of their design solutions or use of materials throughout the design process, as well as final projects. It is important to consider how students apply technical skills and plan and develop creative solutions to real-world problems in their design work.

A teacher should also assess students’ ideas; systematically monitor accuracy; evaluate safety practices; motivate experimentation with materials; and understand the creative process involved in beginning a project, synthesizing and developing different ideas through product simulation or testing before creating a prototype.

With the appropriate assessment of Design Technology, teachers can help students build practical, useful problem-solving skills in all aspects of life.


What are the key factors taught in DT in secondary school?

Design technology (DT) classes in schools provide students with key skills they can use in the classroom and throughout their lives.

While 3D design and simulation are essential elements of DT, it focuses on problem-solving and developing solutions using imagination and technical knowledge.

This can involve creating innovative product designs, finding solutions to everyday dilemmas, defining manufacturing parameters and processes, or even simply recognising the shapes of products and parts from a drawing or image.

As well as providing invaluable experience with materials like wood, metal, plastic, textiles and ceramics, students should be guided in the essential skill of research before making a product: understanding how it works or why it was created that way is as important as physically constructing it.

Beyond this emphasis on actual-building knowledge and functional instruction, teaching artistry aspects like texture, harmony and balance will give students a better appreciation of design theory applicable to all aspects of life.

Design Technology is an essential part of the primary school curriculum. It teaches students fundamental skills like nutrition, problem-solving and creativity that can be used both in the classroom and beyond.

Assessing these skills accurately helps teachers ensure their students progress successfully throughout their studies.

By focusing on design theory, technical abilities and practical applications, DT classes can help students develop essential life skills that will serve them well in their future careers. With the right instruction and assessment,

Design Technology has the potential to cultivate lifelong habits of creativity and problem-solving.


What is DT in the primary school curriculum?

DT, or Design and Technology, is a subject that encourages children to design, create, and evaluate practical solutions to real-life problems. It’s an engaging and hands-on area of study that promotes creativity, critical thinking, and practical skills.

Why is DT important in the primary school curriculum?

DT is crucial as it helps children develop key skills such as problem-solving, innovation, and resilience. It allows students to apply their knowledge from other subjects like maths and science in a practical context, making learning more relevant and engaging.

What topics are covered in primary school DT?

Primary school DT covers a range of topics including product design, textiles, food technology, and mechanical systems. This breadth of study gives students a chance to explore different areas and discover where their interests lie.

How can I support my child’s learning in DT?

There are many ways to support your child’s learning in DT. You could provide materials for them to experiment with at home, visit local museums or exhibitions that relate to design and technology, or even discuss everyday objects and how they were designed and made.

Does DT link with other subjects?

Absolutely! DT often links with subjects such as art, science, mathematics, and even history. For example, when studying ancient civilizations, students might design and build models of historical structures.

How is DT assessed in primary schools?

Assessment in DT is usually carried out through observing students’ practical work, evaluating their designs and finished products, and assessing their ability to solve problems and work effectively as part of a team.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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