Why design technology?
We aim to equip students with key design technology skills and encourage them to go on and become the next generation of creative practitioners. Our mission is to build confidence, encouraging students to take ownership of their work and to develop their thinking into creative ideas.
Design technology at key stage 3
Students complete a nine-week project as part of the creativity and enterprise rotation.
There is a strong emphasis in each project in years 7 and 8 on traditional making, engineering and craft techniques to ensure that students have a broad skills base ready for key stage 4. Students are encouraged to develop their creativity in all their design-based and practical-based classwork.
Our use of cutting-edge technology enables students to incorporate computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) into their work. This gives them a real sense of what it is like to design and manufacture their own product and allows them to evaluate each step of the process.
The key stage 3 projects are designed to build students’ knowledge in sequence and incrementally in preparation for key stage 4. All tasks and projects meet the required standards set by the Department for Education and are based upon the following guidelines:
- Develop the creative, technical 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 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.
Students also have the opportunity to take part in a range of STEM-based activities to further enrich their design technology experience. These include:
Land Rover Challenge
Year 9 students take part in an automotive-based challenge that involves them building a body shell for an off-road RC car and competing against other schools by completing a timed lap of an off-road track.
Year 7 students compete against other schools in building and programming a Lego robot using Lego Mindstorms.
KS3 Wood Club
Students use the department’s facilities to complete a range of challenging wood-based tasks. They learn how to apply skills that are in high demand and rewarding to master.
Design technology at key stage 4
Students who choose to continue with design technology in key stage 4 can choose to do a GCSE in either design and technology or graphic communication.
Details of both qualifications are set out below.
Examination Board: Eduqas
Specification Name: GCSE (9-1) Design and Technology
Link: Design and Technology (9-1)
This design and technology GCSE qualification challenges students to become active and creative thinkers who solve real-world problems. The course revolves around its core principles of designing and manufacturing.
However, the students must also learn to adopt the mindset of designing for the modern world, including a moral and ethical outlook that takes into account our impact on the environment and the planet’s finite resources.
Component 1: Design and Technology in the 21st Century
A two-hour exam at the end of Year 11. Students will be tested on a wide range of topics, and this component equates to 50% of their overall grade.
Core knowledge and understanding is linked to five topic areas:
- Design and technology and our world
- Smart materials
- Electronic systems and programmable components
- Mechanical components and devices
Students will also be examined on the following areas:
- Practical application of mathematics (10% of examination)
- In-depth knowledge and understanding: natural and manufactured timber
Component 2: Design-and-make-task
Non-exam assessment of approximately 35 hours. A sustained design-and-make task, based on a contextual challenge set by the exam board, assessing candidates’ ability to:
- Identify, investigate and outline design possibilities
- Design and make prototypes
- Analyse and evaluate design decisions and wider issues in design and technology
Examination Board: Eduqas
Specification Name: GCSE (9-1) Art and Design (Graphic Communication)
Link: Graphic Communication
Graphic communication is the process of creating visual materials to convey information, ideas and emotions, using graphic elements such as colour, icons, images, typography and photographs.
Students are required to develop and apply relevant subject-specific skills in order to use visual language to communicate ideas, meanings and responses.
Component 1: Portfolio (60%)
Component 2: Externally-Set Assignment (40%)
Areas of study for this qualification may include:
- Communication graphics
- Design for print
- Interactive design (including web, app and game)
- Package design