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Design & Technology

KS5 (Sixth Form)


Design and Technology is available for all students at Key Stage 3, and as an option at GCSE and A Level.  It is currently taught on a rotation with students spending approximately 11 weeks with a specialist teacher in each technology area.

Students in Year 7 have two 55-minute lessons per week and complete equal time in each of the technology disciplines. In Year 8 and 9 students have one 55-minute lesson per week and complete equal time in each of the technology disciplines.  This will ensure that Year 9 students are in a good position to make an informed choice at GCSE. Students are exposed to product design, inclusive design principles, prototyping, graphical drawing techniques, the work of others and a variety of making skills at Key Stage 3. 

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AQA Design and Technology GCSE: The new specification offers a broad look at designing products including end user requirements, environmental impacts, new and emerging technologies, the work of others, industrial design practice and a range of materials including Textiles/Graphics/Electronics and Resistant Materials.  There is a large theory content with 50% of the GCSE grade being the exam and the rest the NEA (coursework). Students are required to independently progress their NEA portfolio and making.

Students are only able to choose one area of Design and Technology to study at GCSE.

Course details

Students should be advised that the significant NEA (coursework) element of the subject means that students must be self motivated, independent learners and are expected to put in significant effort outside of lesson time to be successful.

GCSE Design and Technology will prepare students to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. Students will gain awareness and learn from wider influences on Design and Technology including historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Students will get the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making and apply technical and practical expertise. Our GCSE allows students to study core technical and designing and making principles, including a broad range of design processes, materials techniques and equipment. They will also have the opportunity to study specialist technical principles in greater depth.


Students will spend an almost equal amount of time on theory tasks and practical application, there is a significant amount of written work.

•      materials and components
•      design and market influences
•      processes and manufacture
•      the new specifications place a large emphasis on Science and Math’s within the course
•      focus on creative strategies to enable different outcomes

The exams and non-exam assessment will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

AO1:       Identify, investigate and outline design possibilities to address needs and wants.

AO2:       Design and make prototypes that are fit for purpose.

AO3:       Analyse and evaluate: design decisions and outcomes, including for prototypes made by themselves and others, wider                          issues in design and technology.

AO4:       Demonstrate and apply knowledge and understanding of:

                •  technical principles        
                •  designing and making principles.

50% Externally marked exam.
50% Internally marked Controlled Assessment - Written folder of approximately 24 x A3 digital portfolio pages.





This course is examined at the end of Year 13 and on the NEA (Non Exam Assessment) portfolio.

This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers. They will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to practice by undertaking their own iterative design process and by producing prototypes of their choice as part of the NEA.

Theory topic are as follows:
Units 1-4: Performance characteristics of papers and boards, polymers, woods and metals;
Unit 5: Composite, smart and modern materials;
Units 6-9: Processing and working with papers and boards, polymers, woods and metals;
Unit 10: Modern industrial and commercial practice
Unit 11: Product design considerations
Unit 12: Product design and development
Unit 13: Design methods
Unit 14: Design processes

Course details

Technical Principles: The focus is on the physical and mechanical properties of a range of materials and components and why these are used in specific applications, with emphasis on the life-cycle of products. This includes manufacture, use and disposal plus an understanding of the methods by which materials and components can be manipulated to manufacture products. The NEA provides an opportunity for students to learn about CAD and CAM, and the use of basic quality control measures.

Designing and making principles: Through study and detailed analysis of a wide range of products, candidates should begin to develop knowledge and understanding of the broader issues for the designer such as: environmental sustainability of products and their manufacture, ergonomics and anthropometrics, inclusive design, and consumer safety.

Entry Criteria

GCSE grade 6 in Technology if studied or GCSE grade 5 in Mathematics is required.