The new GCSE in Design and Technology represents a huge change in how the subject is delivered and assessed. It is therefore essential that key stage 3 courses prepare students for the challenges that they will face at key stage 4. This course explores methods of modifying key stage 3 to enable students to have secure foundation in order to be successful at GCSE level. It looks at ways of modernising the key stage 3 curriculum so that students can make meaningful design choices, introducing contextual challenges and developing the techniques required to successfully tackle examination style questions on technical content. It also considers how different types of assessment, such as self and peer assessment, can be used to measure progress.


  • Understand the requirements of the national curriculum and how this links to GCSE
  • Develop and take away strategies to teach the maths, science and design elements required
  • Increase understanding of contextual challenges and how they can be implemented at key stage 3
  • Introduce ways of building exam technique and confidence
  • Network and share existing good practice
  • Take away strategies and resources that enable students to make meaningful design choices


COURSE DATE In-school only
  • All teachers of D&T
  • Heads of Department for D&T
  • NQTs and trainee teachers of D&T
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues



10.00 – 10.30am: The national picture

  • The big picture – the situation nationally
  • How the new GCSE builds on the key stage 3 national curriculum

10.30 – 11.30am: Modernising the way D&T is taught at key stage 3

  • Where D&T fits into the wider STEM agenda and the importance of subject identity
  • The use of ‘Big Ideas’ when teaching D&T
  • Different approaches to teaching D&T at key stage 3
  • Approaches that enable students to make meaningful design choices
  • Strategies for introducing maths and science into the key stage 3 D&T curriculum

11.30 – 11.45am: Discussion: coffee break


11.45 – 1.00pm: Contextual challenges

  • What are contextual challenges?
  • Examples of contextual challenges and their implementation
  • Introducing contextual challenges into key stage 3
  • Assessing responses to design tasks using marking criteria, self assessment and peer assessment
  • Using assessment data to measure progress

1.00 – 2.00pm: Lunch and informal discussion


2.00 –3.15pm: Teaching and assessing technical knowledge

  • Baselining students at the start and end of key stage 3
  • Introducing programmable components and systems teaching
  • How to develop the techniques required for students to successfully tackle examination style questions
  • Using homework, testing and other strategies to build exam technique and confidence
  • Supporting students with lower levels of literacy, lower attaining students and higher attaining students

3.15 – 3.30pm: Discussion: afternoon tea


3.30 – 3.45pm: Plenary and questions

  • Final thoughts, review of learning and next steps
  • Questions

David Hills-Taylor

David is a freelance educational consultant, published author and co-founder/director of STEM and D&T based resource development company Attainment in Education. A former SSAT Lead Practitioner, he has twelve years teaching and leadership experience in D&T, including roles as faculty KS3 and KS4 manager, VTLE coordinator and lead mentor for PGCE students in partnership with the University of Manchester. He is a senior examiner for Engineering courses, working across two of the three main awarding bodies.  In 2012 he received the D&T Association IET Digital D&T Award for his work in schools. This included joint management of a support hub for developing the electronics and digital capabilities of teachers both locally and nationally.

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