Head of Department

Mrs R Clark-Keen

Subject Overview

The Design and Technology department strives to create a stimulating learning environment where students learn about research, designing, making and evaluation techniques. In Key Stage 3, we run a carousel system so students can sample each specialism that we offer. These specialisms are Food Technology, Textiles Technology, Resistant Materials and Graphic Products. The 3-year course is designed to give students experience of each specialism and prepare them for the necessary practical skills and theory knowledge needed for Key Stage 4 Design and Technology.

Key Stage 3

Year 7:

In year 7 students experience all four areas of Design and Technology. During all of the projects students will develop skills and learn how to use the equipment and machinery and then begin the project work. Students are regularly assessed on their practical skills and through homework tasks.

  • Food Technology – Five-a-Day Food
    Students learn a range of essential practical skills including weighing, knife skills, use of oven, hob and grill and they learn about healthy eating, food and kitchen safety.  Then they put these skills into practice by cooking some basic healthy dishes.
  • Graphic Products – Handheld TechnologyStudents design and create a piece of hand held technology, they model using styrofoam and use CAD/CAM to design packaging for their product. They learn about logos, packaging symbols and nets.
  • Resistant Materials – Pewter Casting
    Students learn about the process of casting metals. They create ideas for jewellery or key fobs using geometric shapes. They are then taught how to use tools and equipment in the workshop to make a mould and cast their design.
  • Textiles Technology – Sock Creatures
    Students learn skills and develop different textiles techniques. They use these skills to make a sock creature out of recycled socks.

Year 8:

  • Food Technology – Healthy Snacks
    Students will develop their knowledge further this year by learning about diet, nutrition and health problems of teens, the functions and sources of vitamins and fats, factors that influence choice of food including allergens, intolerances and ethics. They will investigate the impact food has on the environment and learn how to modify a recipe. In practical cookery, students will use a wider range of specialist equipment to further develop their skills in vegetable and meat cookery, they will make a dessert and savoury flan, cookies and all in one sauce.
  • Graphics – Cinema promotion project
    Students are taught designing skills, colour theory, paper and boards, paper folding techniques, how to manufacture nets in industry, and designer influences in the theory lessons.  They also learn the process of vacuum forming, and how to use varied tools, equipment and adhesives to produce a free standing display for a cinema foyer and advertising material in the form of a leaflet, press advertising and a cinema ticket.
  • Resistant Materials – Link Toy
    Students learn about different timbers and bridle/dowel joints. They design a link toy suitable for young children. They learn marking out techniques, and use a wide range of tools and machinery to make their product.
  • Textiles – Bag Project
    Students learn how to research relevant products, how to use the sewing machine and different embellishment techniques. They look at environmental impacts and use a recycled T shirt to create their final bag design.

Year 9:

  • Food Technology –  Family Meals
    Students learn about micro-organisms, bacteria, food poisoning and safe storage of food. They will develop their knowledge of nutrition by learning about protein, complementation and its functional properties and carrying out edible experiments. They will also learn about energy intake, sustainability of crops, fortified and functional foods, create a working time plan and nutritionally analyse a recipe.
    In practical sessions, students will be taste testing a manufactured product as well as making their own burgers, quesadillas, curry, setting a dessert, short crust pastry sausage rolls, upside down pudding, bread based pizza and muffins.
  • Graphics – greeting cards using pop up mechanisms
    Students will investigate a number of mechanisms, design and develop creative graphics for a greetings card and assemble their product using different tools and equipment. They will learn drawing, rendering, evaluation techniques finishes, CAD/CAM and industrial printing techniques.
  • Resistant Materials – Spice Rack
    Students will learn about different polymers and timbers and create a spice rack for the kitchen which has individual elements. Students will learn how to make a finger joint, vacuum forming and line bending, and an understanding of CAD/CAM. This project will help students develop their skills in the workshop in preparation for GCSE.
  • Textiles – Pencil Roll
    Students will learn about the differences between natural and man-made fabrics. They will print a design onto cotton and make this into a pencil roll for a specific customer. Students will learn how to set up and use a sewing machine and use this to complete their practical work.

Assessment at Key Stage 3:

At KS3, students have one formal written assessment and one formal practical assessment per project. They will receive a written assessment mark and will be given the opportunity to revisit the work and improve it. For each of the projects in KS3 students will be given a yellow assessment sheet which all their grades and will be recorded on to make progress easy to track for both staff and students. Students will complete regular spelling tests which they will be given to learn at home, this helps to develop knowledge of the key words in technology. They will also complete two homework projects in every rotation, eight in total across the year.

Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4 Overview:

Students have the option of choosing GCSE Design and Technology. Within Design and Technology there will be the opportunity to specialise in a particular material area including timber, polymer, paper and boards and textiles.

Students will learn the theory element during year 10 covering many topics in depth. They will then complete the Non-Exam Assessment in year 11 which consists of a substantial design and make task from a design brief set by the examination board.

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. The 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.

Year 10:

Students will learn through activities and mini projects throughout year 10. The course is divided up into three main areas which are studied throughout the year. We also include some practical work in year 10 to develop the knowledge of materials and practical techniques.

Core Technical Principles: New and emerging technologies, Energy, Materials, Systems and Devices, Materials and their working properties.

Specialist Technical Principles: Students will focus on their chosen material area and will gain a more in depth knowledge of the sources, origins and properties; the working properties and commercial manufacture of their chosen material.

Design and Making Principles: Design strategies, communication of ideas and specialist tools, equipment, techniques and processes.

In the final term of year 10 AQA examination board release the Non Examination Assessment context. Students then begin their NEA work and spend the final few weeks of year 10 exploring the brief, researching, creating a specification and ideas.

Year 11:

Year 11 students continue to work on their Non Examination Assessment. During year 11 they complete design ideas, develop their ideas, make a prototype of their idea and finally evaluate their work. Once NEA work is completed in the March of year 11 we are able to recap on the important topics covered in year 10, we look at the content of the examination and techniques of how to answer the questions accurately.

Assessment at Key Stage 4:

In year 10 students are assessed termly with a formal assessment task. This work is completed in lessons and then assessed by teaching staff. Students are given the opportunity to improve any assessed work to increase their grade, they are also assessed with formally assessed homework and practical tasks. At the end of each term they complete an examination based on the subject content they have learnt.

In year 11 Design and Technology students are assessed based on the NEA work they complete, there are 100 marks available for the Non-Exam Assessment which equates for 50% of the final grade.

Students will undertake a substantial design and make task which will be assessed on:

  • Identifying and investigating design possibilities
  • Producing a design brief and specification
  • Generating design ideas
  • Developing design ideas
  • Realising design ideas
  • Analysing & evaluating

Students will sit a 2-hour exam, there are 100 marks available which is worth another 50%. Areas that will be assessed are core technical principles, specialist technical principles, designing and making principles.

Key Stage 5

Course Title:

A-level Design and Technology: Product Design

Examining Body:


Overview of the course:


The new qualifications place greater emphasis on understanding and applying iterative design processes. Students will use their creativity and imagination to design and make prototypes that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.

What Will You Study:

Product Design requires students to engage in both practical and theoretical study. This specification requires students to cover design and technology skills and knowledge. These have been separated into technical principles and designing and making principles.

Students will develop the ability to draw on and apply a range of skills and knowledge from other subject areas to inform their decisions in design and the application or development of technology. There are clear links between aspects of the specification content and other subject areas such as Computer Science, Business Studies, Art and Design and History. Students must also demonstrate maths and science skills.

Year 12:

Students will complete a mini NEA project to develop their research, designing, development, practical, and evaluation skills. Students will be given regular feedback on their work in order that they understand how the NEA works and how to achieve their predicted grades.

In March students will begin their final NEA work worth 50% of their final A-level grade, they will choose the problem that they would like to solve and find a client to design for. They will complete a 45 page A3 portfolio to design and make and evidence how they will solve their chosen problem. The NEA will be completed during year 12 and year 13.

Students will also complete theory work alongside the mini NEA in which they will learn topics necessary for the exam including materials, their properties, uses and processes in which they can be used, maths skills needed for the examination, use of computers, production planning and safe working in industry, inclusive design amongst other topics.

Each week students will be expected to complete NEA work at home, and also to pick 3 areas to learn and revise from the theory content. They will have regular exam questions to complete in lessons to understand how to answer the exam questions fully.

Year 13:

Students will complete their NEA project throughout year 13. They will make a final product documenting this work in the form of a diary of make. They will also complete a working drawing, a manufacturing specification, evaluation against the specification, testing against the client, practical testing and modifications.

Students will also continue to complete theory work alongside the NEA in which they will learn topics necessary for the exam including enterprise, marketing, iterative design, design movements, product development, maths skills, product life cycle, major developments in technology, responsible designing, conservation of energy, critical analysis, quality control, manufacturing techniques, product analysis amongst other topics.

Each week students will be expected to complete NEA work at home, and also to pick 3 areas to learn and revise from the theory content. They will have regular exam questions to complete in lessons, and at home to understand how to practice exam technique and understand how to answer the questions fully.


Year 12

Students will be assessed on the mini NEA project, and the NEA which will begin in March.

Students will also be assessed on the theory content including practice exam papers.

Year 13

Students will be assessed on the NEA project.

Students will also be assessed on the theory content including practice exam papers.

Paper 1; Technical principles, 2.5 hour exam, 120 marks (30%)
Mixture of short answer and extended response.

Paper 2; Design and making principles, 1.5 hour exam, 80 marks (20%)

Questions are a mixture of short answer and extended response questions.

Section A: Product Analysis: 30 marks. Up to 6 short answer questions based on visual stimulus of product(s)

Section B: Commercial manufacture: 50 marks

NEA; Practical application of technical principles, designing and making principles. Substantial design and make project, 100 marks, 50% of A-level. Written or digital design portfolio and photographic evidence of final prototype.

Possible Career Paths:  

  • Textile Technology
  • Consumer science
  • Electronics
  • Dental technology
  • Architecture
  • Furniture making
  • Printing
  • Cybernetics
  • Product Design
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Medical technology
  • Model-making
  • Vehicle design
  • Packaging technology
  • Building crafts
  • Prosthetics
  • Sign-making
  • D&T teaching
  • Food technology
  • Structural engineering