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Hele's School

Hele's School

Hele's School A great place to learn. A great place to grow.

Design & Technology

Why do we teach Design & Technology?

Design and Technology looks at global issues in a global society, developing skills that are easily transferable, relevant and sought after in a wide range of career paths. It introduces a person to problem solving with contexts taken from a local situation to a global theatre, incorporating a wide range of curriculum areas including Maths, Science, Engineering and Computing. Students are encouraged to look at design as an integral worldwide ‘language’, considering the needs of all users irrespective of ability or ethnicity. Students combine communication and planning with traditional and modern manufacturing skills to produce a wide range of outcomes. Students learn real world skills to allow them to succeed in a real-world environment.


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Design and technology is a rigorous, practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems. From designing and making a night light, to planning, preparing and cooking gourmet burgers, students acquire a broad range of subject knowledge and draw on disciplines such as mathematics, science, engineering, computing and art. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, students develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. A variety of creative and practical activities ensure that students are taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in the process of designing and making.

Key Stage 3 

In Year 7, the project modules that you will be undertaking are: -

Design & Technology 1 – ‘Travel Toy’

You will manufacture a small travel toy or game that can be used by people to keep themselves entertained while travelling on a long journey or going on holiday.  You will be introduced to wood as a material for manufacturing.  You will experience different manufacturing and assembly processes specific to working with these natural and manmade materials. Learning and carrying out the processes of marking out accurately, cutting, joining, sanding and finishing.  You will also look at the design process and how designers use a different techniques and processes to solve everyday problems imaginatively and creatively while working restrictions of specific materials.

Design & Technology 2 – ‘Super Hex Bot’

You will be introduced to the word of electronics, components and soldering by being asked to design and make a novelty toy that moves around.  You will manufacture and assemble an electronic circuit that will create movement in the toy, assemble the chassis that will be cut on our Laser cutter, manufacture the shell by using maths to create a net and then decorating it.  You can then challenge other class mates to a race against the clock and guide your ‘Super Hex Bot’ around our tilting race track or just leave it under the bed to scare your Granny.

By Year 8 you will have completed your first year of Design & Technology and are moving on to more advanced work and projects, building on your Year 7 experiences.  As before, you will be expected to carry out your tasks sensibly and safely.

Design & Technology – ‘Night Light’.

You will manufacture a small bedside light that can be used to provide comfort when sleeping or can be used as a window or room decoration.  You will be introduced to Aluminium as a material for manufacturing.  You will look at its more common properties and consider everyday products that are made from this widely used material.  You will experience different manufacturing and assembly processes specific to working with thin or sheet materials. Learning and carrying out the processes of drilling, shearing pressing and riveting to assemble the base of the night light.  You will also look at heat forming of acrylic, a thermo plastic that is widely used and develop your CAD/CAM skills to produce decoration to embellish your night light.

Design & Technology – ‘Steady Hand Game’

Using your skills developed during Yr7 you must design and manufacture an electronic game of skill and coordination.  You will manufacture and assemble a printed circuit board (PCB) onto which you will populate with a range of electronic components to make a sensing circuit.  You will then design and manufacture the game board so that it allows players to test their skill and coordination while following a path that you cannot stray too far from, failure to follow correctly will result in a warning light and buzzer sounding to warn of your failure.  You will build on the manufacturing skills that your learnt while in Yr7, using MDF to make the game board and experiencing vacuum forming of thermoplastics to produce a hard and robust protective case for the electronics of the circuit.

Key Stage 4 


GCSE (Grades 1-9)

Entry Requirements

Have you ever wondered what designers do? Have you ever wondered how things move or work?  If you have enjoyed KS3 Design and Technology and shown at least a good commitment to learning, if you are creative and inquisitive, and if you enjoy problem solving then this course is for you.

Course Outline

A qualification in design and technology will prepare you to become a creative and critical thinker, developing skills to design and deliver prototypes that solve real and relevant problems.  The qualification builds on experiences gained at KS3, and introduces concepts of innovation and iterative design, taking you through a process of “explore > create > evaluate”.  This will prepare you for careers as creative designers, engineers and knowledgeable consumers.

This GCSE will help you to understand and appreciate the design and manufacture of existing products.  It will help you to be creative in your approach to work, develop sketching ability and use of digital technologies in designing and creating products. You will learn about creative, engineering and manufacturing industries. You will learn about important issues that affect design in the wider world such as sustainability, global issues and user-centred design.

During the two-year course you will study a wide range of materials; you will also develop an understanding of systems, programmable components and mechanisms to support any potential design solutions you may develop later. You will then develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of specific materials and related techniques and processes, to construct working prototypes and achieve functioning design solutions. This qualification requires you to apply mathematical and scientific knowledge, understanding and skills. This content reflects the importance of Design & Technology as a pivotal STEM subject.


The coursework Design Challenge is a single task that is worth 50% of the qualification. There will be three open and real-world contexts for you to interpret and explore.

The other 50% of the qualification covers the principles of design and technology in an examination. This is a single examination component with questions covering both ‘core’ and ‘in-depth’ content. This examination is 2 hours.

Progression/Career Path

The study of design and technology can lead to future careers in product design, engineering, architecture, fashion and graphic design; it will develop your design and thinking skills that open a world of possibility, providing the tools to create the future. You will build and develop your broad knowledge and understanding from KS3. A variety of materials are studied, and your skills will be developed through working with the appropriate materials and technologies for the task. This mirrors the world of real design and leads to further specialism at A level through Product Design.

Student Testimonies

“I absolutely love Design and Technology; it’s my favourite lesson of the week.  I am learning new things every lesson and being able to put what I have learnt into practice straight away.  I love making and have learnt all sorts of cool stuff.”

“Design and Technology is the best, it is taught in a way that really suites me.  I get to solve real life problems and make solutions”

 “I wanted to do a GCSE that was creative, allowing me to design and make solutions to real problems. So, after some research and talking to different teachers, D&T was the GCSE I chose, OK I still must do written work, but I get to do so much more practical and it takes a lot of the stress out of my other GCSE’s”

Key Stage 5 

AQA A-Level Design & Technology: Product Design (7552)


Year 13 – A2 Level

Entry Requirements

  • Grade B at GCSE in Engineering, Product Design or Resistant Materials
  • Grade 5 at GCSE in Mathematics & Science

Skills Required

  • Analytical approach and creative thinking!
  • Good manufacturing/practical skills.

Course Outline

Underlying Principles

  • Students will study historical, social and cultural, environmental and economic influences on Design & Technology and put their learning into practice by designing and making products.
  • Students will develop an understanding of what it is like to be a designer and maker.
  • Students should develop skills useful for employment and higher education.

The course is a two-year A level.

The three assessment units are: -

  • Paper 1 - Core technical principles and core designing and making principles. (20% of A level)
  • Paper 2 - Specialist knowledge, technical and designing and making principles. (30% of A level)
  • NEA (Non-examined Task) Practical application of technical principles, designing and making and specialist knowledge. (This is a single design and make project 45 hours with an open context). (50% of A level)

Student Testimony

“I took A Level Product Design as it allowed me to further my studies from GCSE in an exciting and creative way.”

“I originally signed up to do A Level Product Design as I enjoy designing and making.  I am now looking to make a career for myself in design, I love solving real world problems and seeing my designs being used by people to make their own lives better and easier.”

“I really like the flexibility of the subject, it allows me to be creative and explore designing and making with freedom while also being very flexible as to what I want to do and how I want to achieve it.”

Career Paths & Degree Courses

This course will support your entry into Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Product Design, Stage Design, Jewellery design, Architecture and Structural Design, Modern Apprenticeships, Fine Art, Teaching, Army, Navy Air Force and many other creative areas.

Paper 1

Paper 2

Non-exam assessment (NEA)

What's assessed

What's assessed

What's assessed

Technical principles

Designing and making principles

Practical application of technical principles, designing and making principles.

How it's assessed

How it's assessed

How it's assessed

• Written exam: 2.5 hours

• Written exam: 1.5 hours

• Substantial design and make project

• 120 marks

• 80 marks

• 100 marks

• 30% of A-level

• 20% of A-level

• 50% of A-level




Mixture of short answer and extended response.

Mixture of short answer and extended response questions.

Written or digital design portfolio and photographic evidence of final prototype.

Paper 1

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



• Mixture of short and extended response questions


Key Stage 5 Recommended Reading List 

It is highly recommended that you include some or all of these texts in your I must read before I go to bed list.  But at very least try to make an effort to keep a daily/weekly eye on the Technology and Environment sections of the BBC news website and the Times100.


  • AQA Design and Technology: Product Design (3-D Design). Nelson Thrones. ISBN 978-0-7487-8257-4


  • Cool Hunting Green ISBN-13: 978-1904915287
  • The Eco-Design Handbook ISBN-13: 978-0500288399
  • Design Museum: Contemporary Design ISBN-13: 978-1847325983
  • Arts & Crafts Companion ISBN-13: 978-0500287590
  • 50 Product Designs: Process ISBN-13: 978-1856697255
  • Bauhaus ISBN-13: 978-3822850015
  • Making IT Manufacturing Techniques For Product Design ISBN-13: 978-1856697491
  • The Measure of Man and Women: Human Factors in Design ISBN-13: 978-0471099550
  • Drawing For Designers ISBN-13: 978-1856697439
  • Alessi: Art and Poetry. ñ (Cutting Edge) ISBN-13: 978-0823011452
  • Childata: The Handbook of Child Measurements and Capabilities : Data for Design Safety ISBN 0952257114 or 9780952257110
  • Design modelling: visualising ideas in 2D and 3D ISBN-13: 978-0340663394
  • Designing the 21st century ISBN-13: 978-3822848029
  • Icons of design: the 20th Century ISBN-13: 978-3791331737
  • Memphis ISBN-13: 978-0500019009

Additional Resources Nano Technology Centre for Alternative Technology Notes for A/AS  Resources for Resistant materials and Graphical products.  GCSE – useful for students studying different courses  GCSE – useful for students studying different courses Help and numerous ideas for KS3 and KS4.   A website guiding students through the project phase of Graphics Products GCSE.  A robotics in education by NASA   'The Times 100' Excellent for students in the field of Technology, Business and Economics. Full of high spec resources