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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 (D&T) is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject which prepares all young people to live and work in the designed and made world. Cultural capital is explored across the key stages by appreciation of the work of others, each subject identifies and relates learning to real life focussing upon people and communities.

Design and Technology builds on the skills and knowledge pupils have already learnt at primary school as a result of base line testing staff are well informed of the pupils starting point as they enter KS3.

The DT curriculum is collaboratively and coherently planned and sequenced across all key stages to ensure that pupils build on all aspects of prior learning, challenging pupils regardless of their starting point.

As pupils progress through Key Stage 3, they are given the opportunity to focus on specific areas of the subject through modules of work in DT and Food. Pupils follow a rotation of work in 2 subject disciplines (currently 2 projects in food and 2 in DT) and a cross curricular project on enterprise at key stage 3. Pupils work in mixed ability groups at key stage three and begin a key stage four course in year 9.

All teachers ensure they are familiar with their classes by using the wide range of data available in school. This helps to ensure that any obstacles to learning are removed and learning is scaffolded for all needs. The department supports the needs of all pupils regardless of any potential barriers as we believe in ‘success for all’.

As a Department we strongly believe that Design and Technology is vital to the future success of our students as they both live and work in a modern world that is rapidly evolving. We want to ensure that our students can be part of creating a brighter future for us all by being inquisitive, creative and able to challenge conventional thinking.

Key Stage 3 

Pupils have two hours a fortnight at key stage 3. Each project is 7/8 weeks in duration.

The national curriculum for Design and Technology aims to ensure that all students:

  • Develop the creative, technical, problem-solving, and practical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in an increasingly technological world.
  • ·Build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to understand, design and make high-quality prototypes and products for a wide range of users.
  • ·Critique, evaluate and test their ideas and products and the work of others.
  • ·Understand and apply the principles of nutrition and learn how to cook.
  • Through a variety of theoretic, creative and practical activities, students are taught the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to engage in an iterative process of designing and making.

When designing, students are taught to:

  • Use research and exploration, such as the study of different cultures, to identify and understand user needs -including inclusive and social design.
  • Identify and solve their own design problems and understand how to resolve problems given to them.
  • Develop considered specifications to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that respond to needs in a variety of situations or needs.
  • Use a variety of techniques to generate creative ideas including CAD.
  • Develop and communicate design ideas using annotated sketches and detailed plans and technical drawings.

When making, students are taught to:

  • Select from and use specialist tools, techniques, processes, equipment and machinery precisely, including computer-aided manufacture.
  • Appropriately select from and use a wide range of materials, components and ingredients, taking into account their properties and suitability for application

When evaluating, students are taught to:

  • Analyse the work of past and present professionals and companies to develop and broaden their understanding of design in the world.
  • Investigate new, evolving and emerging technologies.
  • Test, evaluate and refine their ideas and products against a specification, taking into account the needs of intended users and views of other interested groups.
  • Understand current developments in Design and Technology, its impact on individuals, society and the environment.
  • Understand the social and ecological responsibilities of designers, engineers and technologists.
  • As part of their work with food, students are also taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating. Instilling a love of cooking in students opens a door to one of the great expressions of human creativity. Learning how to cook is a crucial life skill that enables students to feed themselves and others affordably and well, both now and in later life.

Pupils are taught to:

  • Understand and apply the principles of nutrition and health
  • Cook a repertoire of predominantly savoury dishes so that they can feed themselves and others a healthy and varied diet
  • Become competent in a range of cooking techniques [for example, selecting and preparing ingredients; using utensils and electrical equipment; applying heat in different ways; using awareness of taste, texture and smell to decide how to season dishes and combine ingredients; adapting and using their own recipes]
  • Understand the source, seasonality and characteristics of a broad range of ingredients.

Key Stage 4 

At Key Stage 4, students are given the opportunity to select an area of study such AQA GCSE Design & Technology or Level 1 /2 Award in Hospitality & Catering. The students have five hours a fortnight of curriculum time. Two hours a fortnight is a double lesson to allow for focused practical work.

The GCSE DT specification enables students to understand and implement an iterative design processes through which they explore, create and evaluate a range of outcomes. This enables students to utilise creativity, experience and imagination to design and make items that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.

Students acquire subject knowledge and experience in Design and Technology that builds on Key Stage 3, incorporating knowledge and understanding of different materials and industrial processes in order to design and make, with confidence, prototypes in response to issues, needs, problems and opportunities. Students are also challenged to take design risks, helping them to become resourceful, innovative and enterprising citizens. Through the critique of the outcomes of design and technology activity, both historic and present day, students develop an understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world and understand that high-quality Design and Technology is integral to the creativity, culture, sustainability, wealth and well-being of the nation and the global community.

Hospitality and Catering at Hele's School equips students with the knowledge, understanding and skills required for them to progress to further education or employment in this vocational sector which is a significant source of employment in the locality. The course will encourage students to have knowledge of issues related to nutrition and food safety and how they affect successful hospitality and catering operations. They will also develop food preparation and cooking skills as well as important transferable skills of problem-solving, organisation and time management, planning and communication which are essential in the workplace.

Through hospitality and catering, students will:

  • Understand and explore a range of job roles within the hospitality and catering industries to develop a range of transferable skills.
  • Demonstrate effective and safe cooking skills by planning, preparing and cooking using a variety of food commodities, cooking techniques and equipment.
  • Understand the relationship between diet, nutrition and health.
  • Understand the economic, environmental, ethical, and socio-cultural influences on food availability, production processes, and diet and health choices.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of nutritional properties, sensory qualities and microbiological food safety considerations when preparing, processing, storing, cooking and serving food.

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

Our Key Stage 5 curriculum offer is AQA A Level Design and Technology: Product Design which enables students to focus deeper in Design and Technology, develop their capacity to design and make products and appreciate the complex relations between design, materials, manufacture and marketing. Students have nine hours of curriculum time over a fortnight. This time is divided between learning and developing practical skills while the rest is dedicated to the intrinsic knowledge associated with Product Design in a global scenario.

This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in arrange of different careers. They will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on Design and Technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning into practice by producing prototypes of their choice. Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer, alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education and employers.


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