Design Technology

Design and Technology is a practical subject area which requires the application of knowledge and understanding when developing ideas, planning, producing products and evaluating them.

Key Stage 3 (Yr. 7, 8 & 9)

Students complete various projects that build students understanding of products and the world around them. They will work in different areas within Product Design, each of which builds different skills and challenges them in new ways.

Design – Students learn about the design process and the various stages that a project has to complete in order to produce a successful product. Students learn about effective research, sketching, 3D drawing and analysis and development of ideas. Students carry out a project using modelling skills to create aesthetic models of their design ideas.

Graphics – This area of product design aims to look at how products are marketed, advertised and sold to customers. Students learn about packaging, marketing campaigns and how graphics and logos are created with the customer in mind.

Electronics – Students are taught basic principles of electronics including how circuits function and some of the scientific principles of electricity. They will learn how to construct basic circuits and how to use soldering irons to create their own working examples of circuits.

Woodwork – Students will learn the principles of working with wood, including different types of wood and the various hand tools, machines and equipment used to work with it effectively. They are taught how to use hand tools and machinery and will complete a number of projects that build their practical skills.

Key Stage 4

Year 10

AQA GCSE Design Technology (8552)

GCSE Design and Technology will prepare students to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world. Students will gain awareness and learn from wider influences on Design and Technology including historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Students will get the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making and apply technical and practical expertise.

Subject Content:

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


Paper 1

What’s assessed:

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

How it’s assessed:

Written exam: 2 hours
100 marks
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) (traditionally known as coursework or controlled assessment)

What’s assessed:

Practical application of:

Core technical principles

Specialist technical principles

Designing and making principles

How it’s assessed:

Non-exam assessment (NEA): 30–35 hours approx.
100 marks
50% of GCSE

Substantial design and make task

Assessment criteria:

  • Identifying and investigating design possibilities
  • Producing a design brief and specification
  • Generating design ideas
  • Developing design ideas
  • Realising design ideas
  • Analysing & evaluating

Year 11

AQA GCSE Product Design (4555)
Product Design enables students to design and make products with creativity and originality, using a range of materials and techniques. Packaging, labelling and instructions are encouraged as part of the complete design proposal and advertising, points of sale can be used to supplement the making experience and help create products which can be evaluated for their commercial viability.

This course has 60 percent controlled assessment in order to recognise the importance of practical work within this subject.

Unit 1: Written Paper (45551)
40% of total marks
2 hours
120 marks

Candidates answer all questions in two sections

Unit 2: Design and Making Practice (45552)
60% of total marks
Approximately 45 hours
90 marks

Consists of a single design and make activity selected from a range of board set tasks