The Design and Technology department at Leeds West Academy was nominated for developing an exceptional curriculum where students have the opportunity to follow their dreams and achieve their career goals. 

To achieve this the team enhanced the coherence and level of challenge within the curriculum to ensure that all learners regardless of their starting points could achieve and secure progress.

The department recognised that on entry to secondary school, Year 7 pupils' subject knowledge did not meet the minimum expectations of the national curriculum and so to combat this they forged links with primary feeder schools and secured time within the academy curriculum to invite 180 Year 5 students to complete a transition project. This has had a major impact at KS3 as the skills gained on this project were enhanced and stretched and provided a more secure foundation for learning when starting at the academy.

At KS3 and 4 the department strengthened links with the Science and Maths departments. The impact of this is best seen through the Engineering results - the team's focus was to develop their understanding of the implementation of rapid prototyping to support iterative design, developing further opportunity for students to explore the work of different designers and design philosophies. These concepts supported the development of stretch and challenge curriculum wide. To enrich the curriculum further the department embedded more use of CAD which has led to the attainment of higher-grade boundaries whilst gaining the department a new state of the art computer suite.

Learners are provided with regular opportunities to develop cultural capital through educational visits and the delivery of a wide range of after school enrichments. A visit to The Grammar School at Leeds resulted in a student receiving a fully funded scholarship to pursue his ambition in becoming a chemical engineer.

The department has also made many links with industry. 100% of the timber used in the department is now donated to the academy so that students can create high quality products. Local businesses now provide students with ingredients that they would not normally have the opportunity to cook with in their home environments, such as mussels and salmon, for all year groups to use. A link with a local textile factory is providing access to career pathways for KS3 students.