Design & Technology


Introduction and Overview

The subject of Design and Technology is a creative, engaging and practical subject which has the ability to bring out the best in an individual’s creativity to address and solve problems. Due to the nature of the subject, it has many different ways for the students to learn; both through theory work and through practical, hands-on work. This gives the students to best possible opportunity to succeed. A focus on Computer Aided Design in all of the projects also allows the development of 3D modelling skills, a highly developing skill.

The subject at KS3 has a variety of different engaging and practical projects which have been chosen as they incorporate a wide range of different practical skills.  All of these projects will allow the students to produce a personal practical piece which they are proud of and cherish. Each project will allow the students to develop a variety of different skills, ranging from creating a portfolio through both computer research and hand drawings, to developing their 3D modelling skills using Autodesk Inventor.

At KS4, students will study theory work needed for the GCSE exam, again alongside practical, as well as complete their portfolio-based NEA structured around the exam board (AQA) contexts released on June 1st in Year 10. The main focus in Year 11 will be completing the NEA and exam preparation.  

At KS5 students will again study the theory needed for their exams and produce a portfolio-based NEA. Students at A-Level have the opportunity to pick their own context where they will be encouraged to relate it to a personal areas they are interested in pursuing after they leave school. This could be either at university or to a potential employer. 

Key Stage 3

During Key Stage 3, students will be given the opportunity to work through a variety of different projects which will help develop a wide variety of different skills, ranging from practical skills making a final outcome, to computer skills in putting together a portfolio and creating virtual 3D models. Every student is encouraged to finish their work to the best of their ability

Year 7 

Autumn Term: Tile puzzle

Year 7 begins with students learning about three of the most widely used materials; plastics, woods and metals. Students will learn the properties of these materials through theory work, then have the opportunity to understand the working properties by creating the tile puzzle in the workshop. The project is designed to teach students how to cut, shape and finish a variety of different materials to a high standard. As well as the physical model they make, students will learn how to made a 3D model of their designs using CAD. Students will be assessed on the quality of their practical work, as well as the theory knowledge they have learnt.

Spring Term: Mechanical Toy

In order the develop the students cutting and finishing skills learnt in term one, the next project that they work on in the mechanical toy. This project is designed to develop the student’s ability to work to close tolerances with connecting and moving parts, correctly shaped and positioned, in order the produce a working mechanical toy. As a part of this project, students are introduced to a second CAD software which will allow them to laser cut a personal design to be part of their final piece. Integrating CAD and CAM into the KS3 curriculum projects from the very beginning is a vital part of the subject intent. The students will be assessed on the quality of their practical work as well as their CAD skills.




Summer Term: Acrylic phone holder

The final project of Year 7 is the acrylic phone holder. Students will be able to recall experience in working with plastics from their tile puzzle project at the beginning of the year and put the knowledge they gained of CAD and CAM to good use to design a simple, yet functional phone holder. The students will be assessed on their CAD skills and the theory topics they have studied during the year; woods, metals, plastics, tools and CAD terminology.

Year 8 

Students have three lessons over two weeks and will complete three different projects over the course of the year. Each product will allow students to develop their CAD skills as well as their portfolio and practical skills.

Autumn Term:

A carousel year – each class will be on a rotation of teachers and projects.

Upcycled speaker

Students will be introduced to electronics for the first time and will assemble and solder a speaker circuit together. They will learn what the various electronic components do within the circuit and develop soldering skills in order to create a working PCB. Students will also develop their understanding of sustainability by bringing and creating their own casing from materials that would otherwise be thrown away.

Structures and computer control

A group work project where students design and produce a scaled bridge structure using CAD and then have the opportunity to physically model the solution. Once completed these structures are tested to destruction to see how much force they can withstand. Students will witness the forces of tension, compression, shear and torsion through the study of various CAD simulations.

Spring Term: Wooden Box

This project is designed to test the student’s ability to work to close tolerance and produce a finger jointed storage box out of a natural timber. Students will learn how to join timbers together and use a variety of different hand tools to replicate a ‘master’ box and its dimensions. Marks will be awarded for how close the students follow the working drawings of the box and its overall quality of finish, alongside a timber-based theory assessment.


Year 9 

In Year 9 students have only one lesson a week. They will complete two projects in this year, either both with one teacher or between two teachers, one for each project.

Autumn Term: Metal bike lock

This course introduces students to some of the traditional metalworking skills. These include lathe work, bench work, forging, and shaping, drilling, filing and shaping. Students will reinforce knowledge in CAD, by creating a virtual model of their bike lock, as well as creating working drawings alongside a portfolio. These skills will be taught through a practical project made from mild steel.

Spring Term: Traditionally made photo frame

This course allows students to laminate different timbers together and use them to create a wooden photo frame. This project is designed to showcase some traditional woodworking skills, such as laminating and wood planing, as well as creating traditional wood joints which include a mortice and tenon joint and a housing joint. Although many products have some element of technology to them, it is important not to forget the traditional ways of fabrication.

GCSE Technology

Exam Board Subject Leader
AQA Mr J Bunyan

Design and Technology at GCSE is a subject that has changed hugely over the last few years. Where in the past it was a predominantly practical subject, with the making of a product its sole purpose, it has shifted to focus more on the design process and its iterative nature, as well as well as understanding the materials and processes themselves more.

The GCSE specification will allow students to develop their understanding of materials and their applications as well as many core technical principles linked to both designing and manufacturing. The aim will be to study the theory related to the various materials, and then to be given an opportunity to work with them in order to reinforce the learning.  

The NEA will give students the opportunity to work with a real-life client of their choice to produce a portfolio and a final product that advances the skill of listening and reacting to an individual’s needs, not only a key focus of the AQA NEA, but also a brilliant skill in general. Students will be encouraged to use the CAD and CAM machines including the laser cutter and the 3D printer in order to progress their understanding of technology and its benefits, preparing them to be able to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world.

The course specification can be found using the link below:

GCSE Design and Technology course specification


AQA design and technology is assessed in two ways, each weighted at 50% of the final grade; a two hour exam sat at the end of Year 11 and a NEA portfolio beginning in June of Year 10 and finishing in March / April of Year 11.

  • Paper 1

Paper 1 is a written exam of 2 hours in length and is worth 100 marks, which will form 50% of GCSE. It is made up of the following elements:

  • Core technical principles.
  • Specialist technical principles.
  • Designing and making principles.

In addition, at least 15% of the exam will assess maths and at least 10% of the exam will assess science. The paper is split into three sections:

  • Section A – Core technical principles (20 marks) A mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding.  
  • Section B – Specialist technical principles (30 marks) Several short answer questions (2–5 marks) and one extended response to assess a more in depth knowledge of technical principles.  
  • Section C – Designing and making principles (50 marks) A mixture of short answer and extended response questions 
  • Non-Exam Assessment (NEA)

The Non-exam assessment (NEA) is a portfolio-based exercise of approximately 30–35 hours. It has a maximum of 100 marks and forms 50% of GCSE. Students will be given an option of contexts released by AQA on June 1st, and produce a portfolio of around 25-30 pages. This is their opportunity to show their ability to work through a design problem independently, conducting research, producing ideas to eventually manufacture one to test and evaluate its success.



The GCSE will set out the knowledge, understanding and skills required to undertake the iterative design process of exploring, creating and evaluating. The majority of the specification will be delivered through the practical application of this knowledge and understanding based around themes. Students will have the opportunity to use the DT department every lunch time to work on either their theory knowledge, their CAD skills or their NEA and will be expected to spend some of free time in the DT department in addition to their timetabled classes.

A Level Product Design

Exam Board Entry Requirements Subject Leader
AQA Grade 6 or higher in Design & Technology GCSE Mr J Bunyan

Product Design at A-Level is designed to further provide students with the opportunity to increase their knowledge around materials and the commercial ways in which they are produced, as well as their ability to put together a professional and substantial portfolio related to solving a client’s wants and needs.

This qualification has the potential to excite and engage learners who fully amerce themselves in their work. It will create empathetic learners who have the ability to confidently critique products, situations and society in every walk of their lives, now and in the future.

Much like GCSE, the course is broken down into two elements; theory and portfolio. However, at A-Level students will have two papers at the end of Year 13; Paper 1 – Technical Principles and Paper 2 – Designing and Making Principles.

The course specification can be found using the link below:

AQA – Product Design A-Level Specification

Paper 1 – Technical Principles

This paper is a two and half hour exam worth 30% of the overall A-Level grade and is marked out of 120. The theory is related to materials and their working properties, how they can be manufactured and finished, as well as a number of other topics related to the designing and manufacture of products in industry. It covers a wide range of topics, some linked to the GCSE specification and some new, more advanced topics.

Paper 2 – Designing and making principles

This paper is an hour and a half, is worth 30% of the overall A-Level and is marked out of 80. The theory is related more to the process of designing and designers and what is needed to successfully work through and produce a commercial product. The theory in this paper is usually more understandable due to the fact that the students engage in most of it during the process of putting together their own portfolio.

NEA – Producing a portfolio

The students now have the opportunity to showcase their design and making skills through their substantial design and make portfolio. Students can focus their NEA on a context of their choosing and it will be suggested that they direct it around a potential career path for the future, enabling them to get a head start in research and designing in that particular field. They will need to produce a portfolio of between 40-60 pages which covers the design process from start to finish in depth. The benefit of producing a portfolio to a high quality with this specification is the fact that is double weighted, allowing students to obtain a lot of marks before sitting an exam.



Maximum raw mark

Scaling factor

Maximum scaled mark

Paper 1




Paper 2








Total scaled mark




The knowledge, understanding and skills gained in a course such as this will be a great benefit to students pursuing further studies, in their personal lives and in the world of work. The course encourages an awareness and understanding of economic, political, social and environmental factors relevant to this subject. Many students have successfully progressed to universities to study Product and Industrial design.

The course is designed to offer candidates opportunities to study, propose and realise prototype solutions closely linked to the real world of product and system manufacture. Career prospects are excellent and it has opened doors to computer programming, electrical engineering, product design, industrial design, architecture and Formula 1.


Subject Documents Date  
Year 7 Curriculum Map 06th Feb 2024 Download
Year 8 Curriculum Map 06th Feb 2024 Download
Year 9 Curriculum Map 06th Feb 2024 Download
Year 10 Curriculum Map 06th Feb 2024 Download
Year 11 Curriculum Map 06th Feb 2024 Download
Year 12 Curriculum Map 06th Feb 2024 Download
Year 13 Curriculum Map 06th Feb 2024 Download