Design & Technology

Subject Overview

In Design & Technology, our main aim is for all students to develop understanding and knowledge of materials and their working properties through a practical learning approach. Students will develop an in-depth knowledge of manufacturing processes, including the sustainability of using a variety of materials as well as the ethics and culture of manufacture and application. Students will learn to feedback and develop communication skills to enhance learning at all key stages.

Mr Peter Iveson

Subject Leader for Design & Technology

Mrs Heather Bambury

Design & Technology Teacher

In KS3, students rotate between different subjects to develop a breadth of understanding. This offers opportunities to explore and build a range of creative skills, from exploring fabrics and pattern-making in Textiles, to programming and CAD knowledge in Computer Science, to learning safe practice and creating functioning products using tools and machinery in the workshop. The four key areas of the national curriculum are covered throughout the rotations: Design, Make, Evaluate and Technical Knowledge. The projects that each rotation offers builds on the previous year and allows students to explore and create confidently and independently without fear of failure. The projects offered are designed to capture students’ imaginations, whilst developing their understanding of working materials effectively.

At KS4, we follow the AQA Design & Technology specification. This content explores the properties of various materials and allows students the opportunity to learn through hands-on practical-based work. Projects that are undertaken by students develop their creativity and problem-solving skills whilst expanding their knowledge of machining processes in both the workshop and industry. Modern day practices such as designing on the computers using industry grade CAD software allows students access to 3D printing and other rapid prototyping machinery. Crossing over with other subjects such as Science, Maths, Geography and Art allows students to grow and apply their skills from other areas of curricular knowledge. A greater depth of the topics covered in KS3 builds on understanding and further challenges students’ thinking, to apply themselves constructively and to explore creative practices. Practical learning is frequently reinforced with exam styled questions to encourage students in how to confidently communicate answers.

KS5 follows the AQA Product Design specification, which largely builds on many of the KS4 areas of knowledge, although in far greater depth. The course focuses heavily on understanding industry links and machine manufacture of a wide variety of materials, including papers, boards, polymers, woods and metals. There is a strong focus on relevant issues such as sustainability of materials and the impact these can have on society. Students will learn how to effectively communicate and work collaboratively with clients, gather and respond to collected data to produce unique, high quality, functioning prototypes that resolve a specified problem. There are many opportunities to explore the limitations of materials and to develop excellent workshop skills using a combination of machinery and traditional craftmanship. Advanced CAD skills are taught to give students profound knowledge, and application to industry standards prepare students for future careers in design.

Students will learn to recognise the connections between practical workshop experiences and industry and understand how this knowledge links to both their written portfolio and examination work.

Year 7 Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Year 7:

  • How to build an earphone tidy product out of plywood and acrylic
  • How to work safely in the workshop
  • Correct use of hand tools and equipment
  • Safe and correct operation of the pillar drill, vacuum forming and laser cutting machines
  • An introduction to material properties
  • The balance of form and function when designing a product
  • Research into iconic design companies and designers
  • The design idea, generating and development processes
  • How to gather and record human data using simple maths
  • Why we analyse and evaluate the work of others as well as our own
  • How technical drawings are used in industry
  • Development of 3D sketching and prototyping skills.

Year 8 Overview

Students are taught the following topics in Year 8:

  • How to build a moving wooden mechanical toy
  • Safe practice using glue guns, pillar drills and belt sanding machine
  • How to create a number of different wood joints using hand-held tools
  • Technical challenges by building a moving mechanical toy product using measurements from a working drawing
  • Deepening understanding of material choices and working properties
  • How to prepare and apply quality surface finishes
  • Developed product analysis and evaluation challenges
  • Understanding types of levers, CAMS and motions
  • Following a design brief which relates to research
  • Development of effective prototyping skills and use of technical language
  • Understanding the importance of research, design specifications and manufacturing diaries.

GCSE Overview

In D&T during Years 9 and 10, we aim to develop practical skills alongside theory knowledge of physical properties of materials, industry, enterprise and sustainability. Students gain awareness and learn from wider influences on design and technology, including historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Students work creatively when designing and making and apply technical and practical expertise.

Students study core technical and designing and making principles, including a broad range of design processes, materials techniques and equipment.

Both theoretical and practical knowledge is assessed at the end of each term. Assessment criteria are based on GCSE requirements. After-school sessions are offered to Year 11 students to allow access to school facilities such as the workshop and computer suites.

Year 10 students practice NEAs (Non-Examination Assessment) in D&T by completing a mock NEA.

Students sit end of unit tests and sit a mock D&T exam in Year 9. Year 10 and 11 students also sit mock exams.

Students are taught the following topics in Years 9 to 11:

  • Core technical principles
  • New and Emerging Technologies
  • Energy Materials System & Devices
  • Tool and Workshop Health and Safety
  • Material sources, properties, working applications and manufacturing
  • Technical principles
  • Designing and Making principles
  • Ethics, social impacts and sustainability in manufacture
  • Data gathering, research and communication
  • Tolerances, tools, equipment and techniques
  • Balancing form and function.

A variety of making projects develops workshop and digital based skills in preparation for students’ portfolio NEA. This amounts to 50% of a student’s GCSE overall.

KS5 Syllabus

A-Level Overview

Students will develop the ability to understand theory through practical-based lessons and will be capable of generating solutions to real life problems. These skills will be applicable to different scenarios such as exam-based questions as well as NEA (Non-Examination Assessment) work.

The NEA is a substantial design and make project that involves core technical principles, design and making skills and additional advanced specialist knowledge. For 50% of the A level, students will design and produce a high-quality, functioning prototype that relates to a client’s requirements. A digital design portfolio will be assembled  throughout the course, comprising research, design stages and photographic evidence of the final prototype.

Core and Technical Principles covered

  • Materials and their applications, performance characteristics of materials
  • Methods of joining and use of components
  • The use of finishes, enhancement of materials
  • Modern industrial and commercial practice
  • Digital design and manufacture
  • The requirements for Design & Technology and development
  • Health and safety
  • Protecting designs and intellectual property
  • Design for manufacturing, maintenance, repair and disposal
  • Feasibility studies, enterprise and marketing in the development of products and design communication.

Design and Make Principles covered

  • Design methods, processes and design theory
  • How technology and cultural changes impact on the work of designers
  • Design processes, critical analysis and evaluation
  • Selecting appropriate tools, equipment and processes
  • Accuracy in design and manufacture
  • Responsible design for manufacture and project management
  • National and international standards in product design.

Students are taught the following topics in Years 12 and 13:

  • Performance Characteristics, applications and stock forms of materials
  • Testing and finishes of materials
  • Forming and joining processes
  • Modern industrial and commercial practices in production
  • Product Design considerations, development and inclusion
  • Safety, efficiency and protecting designs
  • Methods and processes, developments in technology and influences
  • Social considerations and product life cycle
  • Prototyping skills, accuracy in design and correct use of tools
  • Critical analysis and third-party testing
  • Environmental issues and conservation of energy

Planning for accuracy, quality assurance and control standards.

KS3 Harry Potter Studio visit.

After-school NEA catch-up and revision classes.

CAD tutorial challenges using Fusion 360.

Sketch Like a Designer challenge.