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Girls’ School

KS3 & KS4 - Design and Technology

In Design and Technology pupils combine practical skills and creative thinking to design and manufacture products, that meet the needs of a user or user group. They learn to investigate current technologies and consider the impact of future technological developments. Combined with this they are encouraged to be innovative, as well as learning to think creatively and to solve real world problems.

Working in stimulating contexts that provide a range of opportunities to showcase their skills, pupils respond with ideas, products and systems. Drawing on the local community and wider world, pupils identify needs and opportunities in order to create successful products, challenging expectations where appropriate. They combine practical and intellectual skills with an understanding of aesthetic, technical, cultural, health, social, emotional, economic, industrial and environmental issues. As they do so, they evaluate the work of past and present designers both British and International. Reflecting on the global issues of that time to see how they shaped design.


Students begin with an induction course, which equips them with necessary terminology and skills in Design and Technology.  They then follow a basic course in each material area (food, textiles-fabrics and fibres, metals, polymers, timber, papers and boards) to gain experience of using equipment, processes and machinery as well as the essential freedom and self-confidence necessary to work efficiently in a workshop.

As they progress through the key stage, they consolidate existing skills and whilst building on knowledge, understanding and experiences they develop higher quality outcomes simultaneously meeting the increased challenge and difficulty level. Students are encouraged to solve problems independently.


Design and Technology students will:

  • Understand the Health and safety rules in the practical rooms and work safely with self-assurance.
  • Be able to identify improvements through modelling.
  • Evaluate their designs, clarifying how it meets the users’ needs and purpose
  • Evaluate outcomes explaining the target market for their product.
  • Use past and present designers to help inspire their products.
  • Understand the sustainability of materials and their lifecycle including the social, moral and environmental impact.
  • Understand their role as designers to act responsibly when considering sustainability throughout their product’s lifecycle including the social, moral and environmental impact.
  • Understand and implement quality control through tolerances.
  • Understand the importance of the development of materials and technology and the effects they have on society.


Design and Technology GCSE

The Design and Technology GCSE involves learning about designing and making using a variety of card, paper, plastic, wood, metal, fabric and a range of components. It is taught in two specifically equipped rooms with a range of machinery (including CAD/CAM), tools and digital projectors, allowing the teacher to access a range of supporting materials to engage with all learners.

Year 10 is divided into a wealth of focused practical tasks and mini projects covering the majority of elements in the AQA syllabus as well as core theory lessons. Year 10 forms the foundation for the GCSE NEA (Non-Examined Assessment), which commences in June of Year 10.

Year 11 students continue with the core theory and embark on the NEA (Non-Examined Assessment) project that constitutes 50% of the final grade. This is a design and make task where students research, design, test, model and manufacture a prototype utilising their material area of choice.

How is the GCSE assessed?

Written paper: Core technical principles, Specialist technical principles, Designing and making principles. 50% of GCSE

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): 30–35 hours. 50% of GCSE

(100 marks)

Substantial design and make task in a material area of your choice and is a problem solving task. During the project, you will identify and investigate design possibilities, produce a design brief and specification, generate a range of design ideas, develop the ideas through drawing and modelling in 2D and 3D formats, inform on making by delivering a manufacturing specification to enable the production of a final prototype, which will be tested, analysed and evaluated. This will be presented in a portfolio of evidence

For further information, please use the link below to the AQA Design & Technology (8552) GCSE specification.