The Design & Technology AssociationDeisgn Council

The Design Mark

The Design Mark

Evidence portfolio: John Cabot Academy

Go to Values section Go to Values section Go to Teaching section Go to Learning section


Status - 2 Values1: Value, status and importance of a design ethos in the school – how is this demonstrated throughout the school?



The Creative Design Faculty

 John Cabot Academy is committed to planning, developing and delivering a program, which provides students with the broadest possible range of personalised opportunities. At the heart of this is the desire to deliver a curriculum which has creativity at its core, allowing students to develop their own awareness of the Technological world around them and the influence it has on their lives. Students are engaged in the analysis and solving of real problems which lead to the production of high quality outcomes, be they physical or virtual. This is achieved through imaginative teaching and learning, that embraces new technologies, whilst retaining the best of traditional practices. Above all we aim to encourage a creative and innovative atmosphere that allows students to take risks and experiment in a safe and positive environment, all of which is underpinned by secure knowledge and understanding.

In order to fulfill the intention of our vision, the Faculty and the Academy as a whole, has identified a common set of aims. These aims are a key means of developing a shared philosophy at John Cabot Academy in order to deliver a wide, inclusive and interesting Design curriculum.


We aim:

·                                 To provide, develop and deliver a KS3 and KS4 program which gives students the broadest possible range of opportunities to explore Technological activities, ranging from in depth technology to the creative and expressive style of Technology.

·                                 To establish a learning environment which is conducive to learning, is stimulating, imaginative and relaxed and where the students feel supported and secure

·                                 To value the work of all students, using assessment as a means to monitor student progress, provide information in relation to attainment on a national scale and to form a basis for individual action plans with more demanding targets.



Academy Specialisms

Technology is one of the Academy specialisms and therefore places a greater emphasis on the curriculum we offer. The Design and Technology department have always outperformed national trends in all curriculum areas offered and feel that it is tasked with offering an ‘above and beyond’ inclusive curriculum.   Mainly project based experiences, the department allows the students to personalise their pathways through exposure to a ‘modern Technology’ curriculum which will develop their interest and encourage development and progression.



Integrating a Design Ethos throughout JohnCabotAcademy


John Cabot Academy uses the design process in such a way that inclusive decisions are used to inform and assist the development of the environment in which the students thrive.

A recent example of this was the development of the original toilets, fitted at the time of build in 1992/1993. The issue was highlighted through student voice as an area of real behavioral difficulty. Furthermore, many students would choose not to use the toilets for their own safety but inconveniently walk to another toilet .


In 2008 it was agreed with the Governors that the refit of the toilets. The principal took a selection of the student body to Bristol Brunel Academy who had just completed a rebuild. This form of research allowed the students to analyse current trends of open plan, unisex conveniences.   The students surveyed both students and staff at the Academy to gather their required information to assist their design proposal.


The students then gathered their analysis and created a user specification. Consultation about suitable fixtures and fittings were also discussed with the students and the final plans were displayed and agreed upon. The toilets were eventually fitted in August 2009 and since that time the area has become very easy to manage as groups of gathering students are always easy to see and disperse. Students now feel safe when visiting the convenience and this has affected the atmosphere in a very positive way. 

What does this evidence demonstrate?

SD 1 - The attached demonstrates the working environment that is offered to staff & students at John Cabot Academy. 

SD 2 - An interview with the principal that highlights the commitment to Design Education at John Cabot Academy.

Status - 2 Values2: Personalising design education– how do you involve pupils in planning and evaluating the design curriculum?


Personalising a fully inclusive curriculum for all students at John Cabot Academy and making it sustainable is possibly the hardest task of all. The students are exposed to a relatively linear curriculum at Y7 that encapsulates all design disciplines and pulls together the range of experiences that are so different in our 62 feeder schools. At this stage, expectation is of great importance and embedding students understanding of the importance of Design Education is key.

Once in Y8 students are exposed to a purely skills based curriculum that covers all attributes of design. The rationale behind this is for our students to recognise their preferred skill sets and apply those to an open brief in the final term. This allows the students to personalise their skill set and focus directly on what they enjoy most. Following this experience, students can make an informed choice into their proffered GCSE option.

Open design briefs have always been of great importance for our students to excel. Personalising each brief at GCSE, A/S & A2 allows the students to work in an area that they have interest in and are willing to apply themselves.

Students are involved in the evaluation of these experiences using the navigator system (VLE), thus feeding back their thoughts and allowing us to focus our developments.

One of our main attributes within the department is our consistent rapport with students. We ensure that students play an active role in the interview process when employing new staff to make sure the rapport continues in the correct direction.

Student voice also assists in the design of the Academy’s environment, focusing on redevelopment and design of learning space.


Status - 2 Values3: Sharing practice – in what way has the school demonstrated it’s commitment to sharing good practice locally?


Sharing good practice and our expertise has been essential to the success of both John Cabot Academy and the faculty of Creative Design who have both been recognized for their work locally, nationally and internationally.

The Faculty of Creative Design is managed and organised in such a way as to disperse effective practice in house and locally through the employment of both an AST and lead practitioner.   The main support and CPD lead courses has involved modern and innovative approaches to the effective delivery of the design Curriculum.

What does this evidence demonstrate?

SD 1 - An example of the content delivered at the best practice forum.  This particular session focused on AFL, with the use of Blogs and self assessment.

SD 2 - Teachers TV.   The whole department being filmed on the successful meeting process.

SD 3 - Teachers TV. ICT Resource review

SD 4 - Cabot Learning Federation.  Letter highlighting the support for federated establishments and support for the SSAT Technology.