Subject Vision

In the subject of Design Technology, we aim to teach pupils about the importance of ‘Design’ in products around us and engage them to learn how designers research and meet the needs of users. We teach pupils relevant knowledge to gain an understanding of a wide range of materials for them to make informative choices and solve problems creatively in a constantly changing world. In this way we endeavour to educate pupils to become resourceful and capable citizens aware of social issues and how the manufacture, use and disposal of products impacts our lives.

Through lessons in Textile Design, pupils can develop as creative thinkers who can respond to challenges and develop ideas and products that show an understanding of social, economic, and environmental issues.

They have opportunities to develop life skills such as improving dexterity, problem solving and self-management of both time and planning as well as developing practical skills and knowledge of materials. As the consumers of the future, pupils are made aware of how to make informed choices and balance the sometimes-conflicting needs and wants of product users, that we face in an era of a climate emergency.

Curriculum Plan- Key Stage 3

The KS3 curriculum is organised on a rotational basis where groups move between specialist areas of Textile Design, Food, and Product Design, every 11–12 weeks.

Year 7

In Textile Design, students begin by learning basic skills and become familiar with the safe use of equipment. Through a series of small, focused, practical tasks, they learn about using materials, operating sewing machines and hand stitching. They have a chance to practise and develop skills to embed learning and help aid the development of ‘hand and eye co-ordination’.

Students also learn about materials, with a focus on fabric construction and natural fibres & fabrics.

Year 8

In Year 8 students have a second 11-12-week module in Textiles Design. In this module they build on the skills they acquired in year 7 and learn a greater range of different making processes where there are opportunities to refine and improve dexterity. Students are made aware of employability skills and the opportunities to develop these in many aspects of Design Technology.

Students make a more complex textile product with sustainability in mind and make decisions about the features they include in the product design, so that specific user needs can be met. Knowledge of computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacture (CAM) is introduced so that students see how technology can be utilised in textile design and manufacture.

In the learning about fabrics and fibres the knowledge focus is on man-made materials, modern & smart fibres, and biomimicry.

Year 9

In Year 9, the 11-12-week Textile Design module, allows students to work in a way that extends their learning and skills so that they can challenge themselves according to their level of ability and aims. They are encouraged to be more independent in researching, thinking, and planning. They draw on prior learning to Up-Cycle discarded textiles and think about designing to fulfil the needs of different client groups in innovative ways.

There is a strong focus on sustainability and the role designers have in improving the environmental impact of products. Students have a chance to learn knowledge that will help them understand changes in manufacturing, such as the circular economy and how that is likely to impact the way in which their generation uses and re-uses products. They also look at the care of textiles, to extend the product life-cycle by refreshing, repairing and re-using.

In learning hand stitching processes to maintain or alter garments, students gain life skills and have an opportunity to further develop accuracy in fine motor skills and dexterity.

Assessment in KS3

Students are assessed as the progress through lessons using peer and self-assessment along with ongoing verbal teacher feedback, end of module testing of knowledge acquired and both student and teacher evaluation of the practical outcomes achieved during the module.


Students have the option of choosing GCSE Textile Design or, GCSE Design and Technology.

Key Stage 4 – GCSE Textile Design

Textile Design as a specialist Art & Design GCSE. This course offers a chance for students to enjoy the creative, practical side of textiles that they experience in their KS3 Design Technology Textile modules. Students produce a practical coursework portfolio and have a practical exam.

Textile Design as a specialist Art and Design GCSE, is the creation of designs and products made from woven, knitted, stitched, or printed fabrics where an understanding of knowledge of fibres, yarns and fabrics can be applied in a practical way. Students work in the Design Technology Textile room and have access to sewing machines, C.A.M. Embroidery machines, a transfer heat press and other specialist equipment. Projects may include, fashion design, home furnishing products, printed fabric design, dyed fabrics, or embellished surface design such as applique or embroidery.

Students taking this GCSE must explore the work of historical or contemporary textile designers and makers and look at the different purposes and functions of textile design in a way appropriate to the project themes and their own preferences within them.

Textile Design research involves collecting images and making studies from them by using methods such as collage, rubbings or taking photographs to record images or drawing in a range of different media. The visual images collected and made are annotated so that students’ opinions, thinking and ideas can be explained clearly.

Students must demonstrate the ability to work creatively with a range of textile processes and techniques which are appropriate to the theme, or ideas that they are developing, in order to complete final pieces of practical work for their coursework and exam.

The exam is a 10-hour practical exam which takes place in the Spring of in year 11, Students are allowed to choose their theme and prepare a project in the weeks leading up to the exam dates. In the actual exam sessions that are spread over a few days, they can finalise an outcome that they have previously planned.

Course Structure and Assessment

Year 10

Year 10 students spend the Autumn term and half of the Spring Term, following a foundation curriculum that allows them to acquire knowledge, explore processes and practise skills so that they learn what a GCSE project needs to include, what the standards are for different grades and how it feels organise their time and meet deadlines.

Most students choose to use a sketchbook to collect and present research and develop ideas, but this can be done in different ways if work done for the assessments objectives is clearly shown with evidence stored, so that project research and development can be viewed by teachers and examiners. 

Halfway through the Spring term, students are encouraged to develop their work in a more individual way as they embark on the main ‘Portfolio Project’ which is the coursework element of the GCSE.  Students research, develop, design, and make to work within a theme or to meet the needs of a design brief.  This project continues into Year 11 and concludes before Christmas.

Year 11

In Year 11, students have the Autumn Term to continue with the coursework project and complete their Portfolio submission, which represents 60% of the overall mark, by Christmas.
In the Spring Term students receive the ‘Titles’, for their ‘Exam’ projects from the examination board. Students carry out relevant research, recording, drawing and development of ideas to prepare for their 10-hour practical exam that usually takes place in March or April. (The exam accounts for 40% of the overall mark.)

Once the practical exam is complete, students can turn their attention to the portfolio presentation as work needs to be shown in the best way, for assessment and display.  All the work in the portfolio may need to be displayed for the examiner, during the moderation visit r and so it is important to learn good presentation skills at this time.

Textile Design Outcomes


Theme:- Natural Forms


Theme:- Memories- 
Rose- Tinted Spectacles


Theme:- Natural Forms
Pebble Cushions



What Next? 

Careers areas where textiles skills and knowledge are an advantage or a requirement.
• Sales & Retail- Merchandising and Buying 
• Textiles Manufacturing Business
• Sports & Leisure- 
• Medical- Surgeon, Dentist, Textile Implants, Anti- bacterial Clothing / Textiles
• Transport- Seating Design & Manufacturing- Train, Car Bus etc.
• Construction Fabrics and fibre development
• Fashion & Apparel (Clothing)
• Craft Business
• Footwear- Shoe Design, 
• Theatre & Television- Costume Design, Wardrobe Manager
• Education- Teaching- Lecturing- Tutoring
• Armed Forces – Aspects of Uniform and Specialist Clothing for Protection. 
• Interiors- Commercial, Exhibition Design, Home Furnishings
• Toys – Educational- Safe Toys-  (Meeting Needs of Children with difficulties.)
• Tailoring & Bespoke, -Made to measure Garments.
• Carpets & Flooring
• Technical Textiles- Hi-Spec Sportswear, Outdoor pursuits, Aero- Space, Development. Textile Science

Textile skills developed in both KS3 and KS4 to improve skilful dexterity, can be very valuable in a wide range of careers where accurate, reliable hand-eye co-ordination are essential, such as in the role of a surgeon or a dentist. 

Design Technology GCSE - (with Textiles)

This GCSE gives pupils an understanding of the changing and technological world they live in whether it be as a consumer, a user, or from a career perspective. 
All the specialist material areas are all taught in a combined Design &Technology GCSE.  This includes, Metals, Electronics, Textiles, Paper & boards, and Computer Controlled Systems as the core areas of specialist knowledge.

  • Knowledge of all materials are needed for the written exam paper.
  • 50% of the GCSE will be tested in the written exam.
  • The Knowledge of materials, equipment, and techniques, will be tested in the 2-hour written exam.
  • Students will be able to specialise in one material area for the non- exam assessment which includes a detailed written project folder to fully explain the research, feedback, ideas, development and testing and planning. 
  • The academic side of D&T is strong in this GCSE course, with the inclusion of functional science and maths in the coursework and the written exam paper.

Contextual Challenge: Controlled Assessment (Coursework Project- 50% of GCSE)

This part of the Design & Technology GCSE places emphasis on understanding and applying iterative design processes. In some of the course content students can use their creativity to design and make a prototype that solves real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants, and values. An independent, logical and evidence-based approach is required.
Knowledge of historic designers and influences, and sustainability issues are also, tested in the written exam and the contextual challenge.

Examples of Contextual Challenge Titles set by the Exam Board
•    A high-profile sporting events
•    Addressing the needs of the elderly
•    Children’s learning and play


What's assessed in the coursework practical task -‘The Contextual Challenge’
Within at least one ‘Specialist Material’, practical application or use, of the following is assessed-
•    Core technical principles
•    Specialist technical principles
•    Designing and making principles