The King's (The Cathedral) School




Design and Technology at The King's (The Cathedral) School aims to develop three key attributes in our students: Creativity, Confidence and Resilience.


Each of our students is innately creative. Our aim is to cultivate the right conditions for this creativity to flourish. By exploring the world around them, we want our students to demonstrate creative thinking and become creators of solutions. Our aim for them is that they carry this creativity into all future walks of life.


Each of our students has the potential for remarkable creative discovery. Whatever their starting point, incremental steps of confidence are the key to progress. We encourage our students to embrace struggle, and we celebrate individual creative achievements. By knowing our students, we gradually raise the bar of challenge in line with the ability they demonstrate. Our subject instils leadership and communication, and we ensure the sights of our students are raised towards careers in the creative industries. 


Each of our students is taught the unending nature of innovation. We expose our students to creative mastery - including work done by those within school - that they may see themselves along a pathway to success. We teach iterative design and we make evaluation a routine.  Our students are prepared as the curriculum broadens throughout their school years.


Design and Technology at King's is seen as a learning journey from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 5. Our subject is taught in three areas: Product, Food and Textiles. These are interrelated and therefore share teaching resources, structures and intent. The curriculum overview (above) gives more detail as to what is taught throughout each Key Stage, but here is a summary: 


In Years 7 and 8, students move through a carousel of projects, visiting each material area for approximately eight weeks at a time. Students receive a little over 2 hours of Design and Technology teaching per week. Assessment from each rotation informs the next, and the curriculum is interleaved as the breadth of knowledge being taught grows.  Students undertake projects in the following areas: 

  • Food
  • Textiles
  • Product #1
  • Product #2 

At the end of the year, they undertake a themed free-choice design project. 

In Year 9, the rotations are six weeks long, to give time at the end of the year for students to carry out two GCSE taster projects in the areas of their choice. Opting for a Design and Technology GCSE subject is not compulsory but these projects either support students who have chosen D&T subjects or deepen their knowledge in related subject options. 


Our examination courses for Key Stage 4 are AQA Design and Technology (taught either with Textiles or with timber-based materials) and AQA Food Preparation and Nutrition. Our courses are split between hands-on knowledge-building for NEA projects and examination content teaching. 

We highly value learning linked with practical application. We therefore spend lots of time in the workshops and workrooms creating samples, exploring materials, learning techniques and iterating ideas. We go deeper with CAD/CAM and we expect the students to begin ‘owning’ the practical working spaces. 


For Key Stage 5 we offer AQA Product Design or Textiles. We undertake many hands-on projects which deepen knowledge in all material areas, and we spread examination teaching throughout the two-year course. We align teaching topics across KS4 and 5 to give a similar rhythm to their learning journey and to provide a logical sequence of learning; for example, we always start with materials and their working properties. 

At Key Stage 5 we increasingly remove the ceiling on creative application. Each making activity comes with fewer restrictions as we encourage independence in our students. We celebrate individuality and we actively learn from each other’s creative journeys. Many of our Sixth Form students involve themselves with extra-curricular designing and making. 

Also at Key Stage 5, we begin forging stronger links with industry and careers and we support many students who are interested in related industries. We run multiple trips and visits and we also organise visitors who can inspire students. 


Design and Technology is amongst the strongest-performing subjects at King's.  In 2021/2022, 96% of our GCSE students achieved a Grade 4 or above, and an enormous 69% of students achieved above a Grade 7 – a significant increase from previous years. We add significant value to our students – across all three areas of D&T, 83% of our students achieved on or above their target grades with 59% of students exceeding their flightpaths – once again a significant improvement on recent years. Food has seen impressive success at GCSE with an average SPI of 1.65, one of the best in the school. We continue to successfully facilitate students onto the Arkwright scholarship programme. Product Design, Food and Textiles have retained students well with Year 10 group sizes increasing in most areas.

At A-Level (Textiles and Product Design), 92% of our students achieved A*-B grades and 92% of students achieved either on or above their flightpaths. A-Level group retention has also been excellent and a third of our students have gone onto to study design-related subjects at University.

There is a constant buzz in the Design and Technology department – whether it is the result of an inspiring curriculum, the stories shared through the many trips and visits we organise, the way we encourage students to use the creative spaces out of lesson times or the ‘wow’ factor displays and exhibitions we lay on; we can see the thriving impacts of cultivating the conditions for creativity, confidence and resilience in our subject.

Department Staff

Mr Sam Holbird (SCH): Head of Design & Technology Department
Mr Julian Criddle (JDC): Teacher of Design & Technology
Mrs Catharine Park (CJP): Teacher of Textiles, Design & Technology and Food Preparation & Nutrition, and Sixth Form Deputy
Mrs Emmah Sithole (ES): Teacher of Food Preparation & Nutrition
Mrs Louise Varty (LAV): Teacher Responsible for Food and Textiles
Mrs Tina Firkin (TF): Design Technology Technician
Mrs Jane Kennedy (JEK): Art & Textiles Technician
Mrs Alison Rye (AMR): Food Technician