D&T Self-Review Framework and D&T Mark

This self-review tool will help you determine how effective learning in Design and Technology is in your school

Evaluating the quality of D&T in your school

What is the Self-Review Framework?

The Self-Review Framework is a tool which is designed to help you determine the quality and effectiveness of all aspects of Design and Technology provision in your school.

Why do I need to Self-Review?

With the launch of the 2014 National Curriculum, revised programmes of study and the objective-based approach to assessment, as well as the Ofsted 'Common Inspection Framework', it seemed timely to revisit and revise the original ‘Design Mark’ accreditation to create a new self-review tool and quality mark for Design and Technology.

The process of self-reviewing and evaluating one’s own practice is the very best way of determining whether practice and outcomes meet expectations. External inspection is a way of making a judgment about effectiveness but is no substitute for evaluating one’s own practice. The new Ofsted inspection handbook makes frequent reference to the role and importance of self-evaluation. However, the difficulty with self-review and evaluation is determining what ‘standard’ one is evaluating practice against. Many schools provide criteria, often derived from Ofsted. These do provide some guidance in a generic way but rarely provide the explicit detail required to truly reflect the unique nature of any single subject and particularly for design and technology.

It is also important to recognise the contribution self-review can make in providing teachers with evidence for performance management or appraisal purposes. The Self-Review Framework provides an ideal way for D&T teachers to illustrate and evidence a range of competencies and their commitment to continuing professional development and departmental/school improvement.

What does the Self-Review Framework provide my school?

The Framework provides a self-review tool enabling schools to compare and assess their current practice against the quality standards set out in the Framework. It provides clear descriptors and examples of standards that constitute quality D&T, but also provides access to expert consultants, examples and a range of resources, both printed and web-based, that schools can access to aid their development and improvement.

The tool allows you to measure your school against three key areas, referred to as Domains (see below).

By evaluating your school against these Domains, you will identify the strengths and areas for development in your current provision of D&T and, more importantly, be guided and helped to make any improvements necessary.

How do I start to use the Self-Review Framework?

To begin the self-review process you need to register and be a D&T Association member. A separate Framework is available for Primary D&T.

Browse to the register page and supply the requested information.

Nine introductory statements

Respond to a set of nine statements to gain an immediate summary report on the current status and effectiveness of your D&T department.

This activity is designed to give you a sense of how the Self-Review Framework will help your department. Simply respond to the nine short statements, indicating your response to each, as either ‘Not met’, ‘Partially met’ or ‘Fully met’.

Your responses will be analysed and a mini-report generated. The report will indicate where the strengths and weaknesses are in your department and help you identify where you may want to start using the Self-Review Framework.

How do I register?

Simply browse to the register page and supply the requested information.

The Framework is free to all D&T Association members but you will still need to register to gain access.

If you're not a member, you can join.


Is the Framework free?

The Framework is free to all D&T Association members but you will still need to register to gain access.

Why do I need to login?

Your Framework results are bespoke to your school and can only be accessed once you’ve logged in.

What is the Dashboard?

The Dashboard is the way in which you access and review your completion of the Self-Review Framework. It lists all the Descriptors and provides an instant visual summary of which have been partially and fully met. 

At the highest level the Framework has been divided into three Domains covering Design and Technology learning: they are: 

  • Principles for learning in D&T
  • Curriculum for learning in D&T
  • Environment for learning in D&T

The three Domains together provide an holistic view of D&T yet individually enable users to interrogate parts of their practice in more depth. Each of the three Domains has been sub-divided into four Aspects.

The Aspects within each Domain provide an even greater depth of detail for analysis and evaluation. Each Aspect contains a number of Descriptors. It is against these descriptors that users evaluate their current practice.

Who should complete the Self-Review Framework?

The Framework is intended to help you review the overall provision of D&T within your department. Therefore it is recommended that everyone involved in the teaching and support of D&T contributes and is aware of the Descriptors and the evidence required to satisfy them.

However, you may want to give responsibility for actually completing the Framework to one person – probably the subject leader/head of department. 

Do I need to supply supporting evidence with my answers?

No, but this will mean you are not using one of the main strengths of the Self-Review Framework. Uploading supporting evidence allows you to compile an online portfolio which can be used to help the subject leader and department identify areas for development and to justify your evaluation to senior managers and those tasked with ensuring self-evaluation is undertaken in a robust and rigorous manner.

The evidence can also be used, should you wish to do so, to apply for the D&T Mark.

Can I still access the Self-Review Framework, if I move school?

No, because the review and evidence will be specific to your former school.


What is the D&T Mark?

The D&T Mark is a quality mark which is intended as an aspirational badge awarded to secondary departments that demonstrate excellence in Design and Technology teaching and learning. It is awarded to schools who can demonstrate they fully meet all the descriptors in the Self-Review Framework. 

Before applying for the D&T Mark, please read these brief guidelines which will support you with your application.


Do I need to pay for the D&T Mark?

Yes. At any point while completing the Self-Review Framework, you can apply for the D&T Mark. At this point you will be asked to pay 66% of the D&T Mark fee and will be allocated a Moderator. The Moderator will review the evidence you have uploaded and will tell you whether they agree or disagree. Their decisions will be shown on the Self-Review Framework dashboard. Where they feel you do not yet meet the Descriptor they will tell you why and you can provide additional explanation and/or evidence until all the criteria are fully met.

At this point you will be asked to complete your application, pay the remaining 33% of the fee and be allocated a Validator who will double check your decisions and those of your Moderator before the Mark is awarded.

Is our school already eligible for the D&T Mark?

If you can provide the necessary evidence for all the Self-Review Framework descriptors, register for the Self-Review Framework, upload your evidence where requested and apply.

What happens once we have the D&T Mark?

Successful schools will receive:

  • a D&T Mark certificate  
  • a logo to use on their school letter-head

The D&T Mark is valid for a three-year period, after which new evidence will need to be submitted to demonstrate that the original high standards in teaching and learning have been maintained and further developed. 

Register for Self-Review

Now you understand exactly what the Self-Review Framework entails, fill in a short registration form to gain access the Self-Review Framework.

If you are already a Secondary Departmental member go ahead and register.

If you are still a secondary individual member, convert to Secondary Departmental membership to gain free access to the Self-Review Framework.

Please call 01789 470 007 to convert.