Design And Technology

About the department

The department believes that all students need to be able to solve problems by analysing them and considering a range of solutions.  They should have a range of skills that enable them to communicate their ideas through different graphic methods and explain their intentions.  We believe that they should also have a good knowledge and understanding of a wide range of materials, components, ingredients, equipment and processes that can be applied to developing working solutions and also develop the practical skills needed to realise their ideas.


Year 7
In Year 7 students will undertake a range of projects that cover different specialist areas of design and technology. They are taught techniques to enable them to effectively communicate their design ideas and are encouraged to be creative in their approach.  Students are given many opportunities to use a range of tools, equipment, materials and ingredients to realise their ideas and produce complete and functioning outcomes.  They will be building knowledge of processes and developing practical skills.  Students will begin to build a technical vocabulary which they will be able to apply when discussing their work and developing working solutions.

Year 8
In Year 8 students will build on their experiences gained during Year 7. They will learn how to use a wider range of graphic techniques to communicate their designs and they will also develop their knowledge of processes, materials and applications. Through extended project work they will develop a range of skills in using tools and equipment, including CAD/CAM where appropriate, and applying processes to manipulate different materials and produce quality outcomes.

Year 9
In Year 9 students continue to build on the skills developed previously and they will begin to undertake project work that reflects the requirements of GCSE courses in design and technology. Further skills and techniques will be taught so that students are fully prepared, enabling them to complete projects to a high standard, produce high quality outcomes and gradually become more independent in product design and realisation.


Design & Technology, Engineering and Hospitality and Catering introduce you to a wide range of practical skills, crafts and design processes that will equip you for life outside of school, helping you understand the ever-changing technological world in which we live.  Students will develop skills in designing and making as well as analytical skills, helping them to solve problems and make sense of what surrounds them.  Today we live in a world where everything around us is designed and fame and fortune can be found through D&T skills. Think of all the products that make life comfortable, from nice furniture, homes, cars, ready meals and clothes to gadgets like mobile phones, iPods and computers. All these products, and many more, have been designed and made by people who have most likely studied D&T or Engineering.

How do you learn?
The subjects enable you to develop skills in evaluating everyday items, assessing their ‘fitness for purpose’, making them more discriminating consumers. It also develops problem solving and planning skills, essential for being effective employees of the future and dealing with everyday problems.

KS4 courses?
Each of the following courses leads to one qualification. It may be possible to opt for more than one of these subjects if circumstances allow.

  • GCSE Design and Technology
  • GCSE Engineering
  • BTEC Hospitality and Catering
  • BTEC Level 1 certificate in construction
GCSE Design and Technology

GCSE Design and Technology will prepare students to participate confidently and successfully in an increasingly technological world.  Students will get the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making and apply technical and practical expertise.

This GCSE allows students to study core technical and designing and making principles, including a broad range of design processes, materials techniques and equipment.

During the first year of the course students will undertake projects that will develop their knowledge and skills, which will then enable them to complete a substantial design and make project.

Subject Content

Core technical principles

In order to make effective design decisions students will need technical knowledge and understanding that consists of: 

  • New and emerging technologies 
  • Energy storage and generation 
  • Modern and smart materials 
  • Systems approach to designing 
  • Mechanical devices 
  • Materials and their working properties

Designing and making principles

Students will need to demonstrate and apply knowledge and understanding of designing and making principles in relation to the following areas: 

  • investigation, primary and secondary data 
  • environmental, social and economic challenge 
  • the work of others 
  • design strategies 
  • communication of design ideas 
  • prototype development 
  • selection of materials and components 
  • tolerances 
  • material management 
  • tools and equipment 
  • techniques and processes

Specialist technical principles

In addition to the core principles, all students should develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the following specialist technical principles: 

  • forces and stresses 
  • ecological and social footprint 
  • scales of production 
  • sources and origins 
  • using and working with materials 
  • stock forms, types and sizes 
  • specialist techniques 
  • surface treatments and finishes

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of GCSE

How it's assessed

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

Non-exam assessment (NEA)

Practical application of:

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

Students will need to demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge and skills developed in learning the technical principles, undertaking a project that consists of a substantial design and make task, the assessment criteria for which are:

  • Investigating
  • Designing
  • Making
  • Analysing and evaluating

The NEA gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through creativity in designing and making a functioning product to meet the needs of a market and user.  The task can be challenging and stimulating, allowing students to excel in designing and making a range of artefacts.

Where will this take me post-16?
You could continue in education to study A level Product Design and then on to a degree at university or art college.  Alternatively, you could follow a vocational course, get an apprenticeship or get training in a work place.

GCSE Engineering

Engineering is an increasingly innovative and exciting area to work in. It affects every aspect of modern life – from skyscrapers to smart phones, cars to carrier bags. The GCSE introduces students to a host of new technologies, helping them to gain practical skills and understanding of engineering. It will particularly appeal to those who enjoy being creative, with an affinity for drawing, design, maths and problem-solving. 
During the first year of the course students will undertake projects that will develop their knowledge and skills, which will then enable them to complete a substantial design and make project. 

Student content

  • Engineering materials
    - properties of metals, polymers and composites
    - cost and supply
    - design factors
  • Engineering manufacturing processes
    - removal of materials, including machining
    - shaping, casting and joining
    - heat treatment, chemical treatment and surface finishing
  • Systems
    - system design
    - mechanical, electrical, electronic, structural, pneumatic
  • Testing and investigation
     - modelling and calculating
     - testing and quaility control
     - aerodynamics
  • The impact of modern technologies
  • Practical engineering skills
     - applying practical skills to solving problems

Students will be taught the required skills and knowledge through a variety of projects, tasks, and theory.

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 120 marks
  • 60% of GCSE

Non-exam assessment (NEA): Practical engineering
What's assessed?

  • Knowledge and understanding of engineering principles.
  • Application of skills, knowledge and understanding in a practical context.
  • Analysis and evaluation of evidence.

Students produce:

  • Engineering drawings or schematics to communicate a solution to the brief. An engineering product that solves a problem.

How it's assessed

  • A brief set by AQA released on 1 June in the first year of study.
  • 80 marks
  • 40% of GCSE


Mathematical Understanding

A grasp of a range of mathematical concepts and skills is essential. Students will need to be able to confidently use equations and mathematical skills and they will be expected to recall and use them within the exam. The mathematical understanding will include: 

Equations (which students will be expected to recall and use as they will not be provided in the exam), such as: 

Area of a cuboid A=L×W 
Volume of a cuboid V = L × W × H 
Area of a circle Ac=πr2 
Volume of a cylinder Vc = Ac×L 
Area of a triangle At=½(B×H)Density = mass/volume P=m/v 
Stress = force/cross-sectional area σ =F/A 
Strain = change in length/original length: ε=δl/l 
Young’s modulus = stress/strain E=σ/ε 
Pressure = force/area P=F/A 
Factor of safety = material strength/design load FoS=σy/L 
Ohm’s law: current = voltage/resistance I=V/R 
Series resistance Rt = R1 + R2 
Gear ratio =Number of teeth on driven gear/number of teeth n driver gear 
Mechanical Advantage = load/effort MA=Fb/Fa 

Arithmetic and numerical computation 

Recognise and use expressions in decimal form 
Recognise and use expressions in standard index form 
Perform calculations using time and cost 
Use ratios, fractions and percentages 
Calculate squares and square roots 
Calculate angles of a triangle using trigonometry 
Use Pythagoras’ theorem 

Handling data

Use an appropriate number of significant figures 
Find arithmetic means 
Make order of magnitude calculations 
Collection, organisation and presentation of data 


Understand and use the symbols =, <, ≤, ≥, >, ±, α, ~ 
Change the subject of an equation 
Substitute numerical values into algebraic equations  
Solve simple algebraic equations 


Translate information between graphical and numeric form 
Plot two variables from experimental or other data 
Draw an appropriate trend line onto plotted data 
Determine the slope of a graph 
Interpret data presented in graphical form 


Where will this take me post-16?
Study A Levels, combining subjects such as engineering, maths and physics, leading to a degree in engineering, maths or science.
You could also attend technical college, such as the UTCN before going starting a higher level apprenticeship, or going to university.

How it’s assessed

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 120 marks
  • 60% of GCSE

Non-exam Assessment

  • Brief set by AQA
  • 80 marks
  • 40% of GCSE

Students produce:

  • Engineering drawings or schematics to communicate a solution to the brief
  • An engineering product that solves a problem.
Vocational Award: Hospitality and Catering

The hospitality and catering sector includes all businesses that provide food, beverages, and/or accommodation services. This includes restaurants, hotels, pubs and bars. It also includes airlines, tourist attractions, hospitals and sports venues; businesses where hospitality and catering is not their primary service but is increasingly important to their success. According to the British Hospitality Association, hospitality and catering is Britain’s fourth largest industry and accounts for around 10% of the total workforce. Since 2010, over 25% of all new jobs have been within the hospitality and catering sector with the majority of new roles falling within the 18-24 age group.

The WJEC Vocational Award in Hospitality and Catering has been designed to support learners in schools and colleges who want to learn about this vocational sector and the potential it can offer them for their careers or further study.

The WJEC Level 1/2 Vocational Award in Hospitality and Catering is made up of two mandatory units:

  • Unit 1 The Hospitality and Catering Industry
  • Unit 2 Hospitality and Catering in Action

Each of the units of the WJEC Level 1/2 Vocational Award in Hospitality and Catering has been designed so that knowledge, skills and understanding are developed through tasks that have many of the characteristics of real work in the sector.

This approach also enables learners to learn in such a way that they develop:

  • Skills required for independent learning and development
  • A range of generic and transferable skills
  • The ability to solve problems
  • The skills of project based research, development and presentation
  • The fundamental ability to work alongside other professionals, in a professional environment

The H&C course content develops a wide range of skills and knowledge that are likely to be easily transferred into a vocational setting or developed further on an appropriate course or apprenticeship.  You will learn a wide range of skills and techniques related to the preparation of dishes and working in the hospitality and catering industry.

Where will this take me post-16?
As many young people will work in the Food and Catering industries at some point (these continue to be one of the key employers of young people), this qualification will be highly useful.  The skills developed in this course are an excellent grounding for starting work in the industry or moving into the next level of education.

Further study would provide the opportunity to develop a range of skills that would support progression to employment, ranging from waiting staff, receptionists and catering assistants to chefs, managers and food technologists in food manufacturing.

Subject content
You must demonstrate knowledge and skills in:

  • Hospitality and catering provision, including health and safety
  • propose a hospitability and catering provision to meet specific requirements
  • understand the importance of nutrition when planning menus
  • understand menu planning
  • safely prepare, cook and present nutritional dishes
  • explain how dishes on a menu address environmental issues
  • explain how menu dishes meet customer needs
  • use food safety practices
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the hospitality sector
  • understand the relationship between diet, nutrition and health

How it is assessed
Unit 1: The Hospitality and Catering Industry
External assessment

Aim and purpose
The applied purpose of the unit is for learners to use their knowledge and understanding of the hospitality and catering industry in order to propose new hospitality and catering provision to meet specific needs.

Unit 2: Hospitality and Catering in Action
Internal assessment

Aim and purpose
The applied purpose of the unit is for learners to safely plan, prepare, cook and present nutritional dishes.

BTEC Construction (Level 1 introductory - certificate)

The Pearson BTEC Level 1 Introductory Certificate in Construction is designed around practical skills and tasks that place an emphasis on learners demonstrating what they can do rather than what they know in theory. The qualification gives learners the opportunity to acquire and develop generic, transferable and sector-specific skills in order to complete tasks and demonstrate a level of achievement that enables them to progress to further learning. The Certificate offers an introduction to the construction sector and is primarily for all learners who want to continue their education and develop their skills for progression to further learning and, ultimately, to employment.

Where will this take me post-16?
This qualification prepares learners for further learning at a higher level in construction.  The development of transferable skills means that learners can also choose a study programme from alternative sectors.  For example, this qualification in construction could lead to Pearson BTEC Level 2 qualifications in this sector, or to the Pearson BTEC Level 2 Apprenticeship in Construction and the Built Environment, or to Level 2 qualifications in other sectors.

Subject content
Students will be required to complete and pass five units in order to gain the certificate.  The units from the specification that will be studied are:

  • Unit A1: Being organised.
    Learners will develop key techniques to help organise their work and priorities and manage their time effectively.
  • Unit A2: Developing a personal progression plan.
    Learners will develop the skills and behaviours needed to progress to the next stage in their learning, identifying progression opportunities and creating a plan to enable them to get there.
  • Unit CON7: Making carpentry joints.
    Learners will develop the skills needed to work with timber to produce a simple wooden frame using joints and basic woodworking and joinery skills.
  • Unit CON8: Fixing a water pipe. 
    Learners will develop the skills needed to carry out plumbing operations, including cutting, bending and jointing to fix a water pipe.
  • Unit CON11: Decorating an inside wall.
    Learners will develop the skills needed to decorate an inside wall. They will learn about the tools, materials and equipment needed for painting and wallpapering inside walls and will develop the skills to prepare and paint walls, surrounding frames and to apply wallpaper.

How it’s assessed
The final grade awarded for a qualification represents a holistic performance across all of the qualification. As the qualification grade is an aggregate of the total performance, there is some element of compensation in that a higher performance in some units will be balanced by a lower outcome in others.
The available grade range for the certificate qualification is Pass, Merit, or Distinction.

A-Level Design and Technology: Product Design

Examination Board: AQA

Course Summary

Introduction and Structure
This creative and thought-provoking qualification gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers. Especially those in the creative industries.

They will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to 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.

A-level Design and Technology: Product Design requires students to engage in both practical and theoretical study.  This course requires students to cover design and technology skills and knowledge as set out below. These have been separated into:

  • technical principles
  • designing and making principles.

Exam 1 – Technical principles
30% of A-level
This paper is set out through four sets of questions that predominantly cover technical principles within product design. Learners will be required to:

  • analyse existing products
  • demonstrate applied mathematical skills
  • demonstrate their technical knowledge of: materials, product functionality, manufacturing processes and techniques
  • demonstrate their understanding of wider social, moral and environmental issues that impact on the design and manufacturing industries

Exam 2 – Design and making principles
20% of A-level
This component has a series of longer answer questions that require learners to demonstrate their problem solving and critical evaluation skills. Learners will be required to:

  • apply their knowledge, understanding and skills of designing and manufacturing prototypes and products
  • demonstrate their higher thinking skills to solve problems and evaluate situations and suitability of design solutions

Non-exam assessment (coursework)
50% A-level
The iterative design project requires learners to undertake a substantial design, make and evaluate project centred on the iterative processes of explore, create and evaluate. Learners identify a design opportunity or problem from a context of their own choice, and create a portfolio of evidence in real time through the project to demonstrate their competence.

Careers and Progression
This qualification supports progression into further education, training or employment, such as any appropriate design-related or engineering course. Design based occupations include graphic design, product design, architecture, industrial design, art and interior design with excellent opportunities at degree level. Design and engineering professionals are highly respected and careers in these fields can be highly paid, creative, interesting and rewarding. Designers and engineers are the best placed people to make a difference to society by developing innovative new products, communications, infrastructure and systems.

Entrance Requirements
Relevant GCSEs at Grade 5 or above, including English and Maths. Students who would benefit most from studying A-level design and technology are likely to have GCSE design and technology and/or engineering or a BTEC in an appropriate subject.


The framework for assessment uses progress and target statements derived from assessment criteria used for marking GCSE controlled assessment tasks. The reasoning behind this is to aid progression from KS3 to KS4 with the use of familiar assessment criteria. The statements have been developed to be used to assess progress in the areas of design & technology as stated in the National Curriculum for KS3.  There are five areas in which students are assessed:

Design: writing specifications, including the analysis and application of research

Design: producing ideas, which assesses a students’ ability to produce creative ideas that match design criteria identified in the specification

Design: communication, which assesses a student’s ability to use a variety of techniques to effectively communicate their ideas through drawing, text, discussion and CAD

Making, which assesses a student’s ability to independently select and use tools appropriate to the material and task being undertaken, and to plan and complete a practical outcome to a high standard

Testing and evaluating, which assesses a student’s ability to analyse their own work and that of others, commenting on how well products or designs meet a set of given criteria and are fit for purpose.

Through a range of projects undertaken in Years 7, 8 and 9 students will have the opportunity to develop their skills and demonstrate their level of competence. Different projects may have a different focus and therefore progress may not appear to be linear as different skills are developed, demonstrated and assessed at different times throughout each year. The curriculum is designed to enable students to revisit different skills and address their targets in order to make progress.

Each student will have a record of their attainment, progress and next-step targets.

Feedback is provided during, and upon completion of tasks, with clear improvement targets being given. Assessment is carried out against a set of criteria, with a project ‘score’ being given. The score is then used to track progress against a flight path that projects expected outcome at KS4 based on KS2 results. By tracking a student’s outcome and achievement across a range of projects and tasks it can be determined whether or not the student’s progress is as expected, above expected or whether they are working towards making expected progress.


Students are given regular written and verbal feedback to aid their progress and development throughout the course. When work is assessed it is done so subjectively using controlled assessment criteria published in the course specification from the examination board. When controlled assessment tasks are undertaken and completed they are assessed using the same criteria, listed below:

  • investigating the design context
  • development of design proposals
  • making
  • testing and evaluating
  • communication


Students are given regular written and verbal feedback to aid their progress and development throughout the course. When work is assessed it is done so subjectively using criteria published in the course specification from the examination board. When coursework tasks are undertaken and completed they are assessed using the same criteria, listed below:

Unit 1: Product Investigation

  • performance analysis
  • materials and components
  • manufacture
  • quality

Unit 2: Product design

  • design and development
  • communicate

Unit 3: Product manufacture

  • production plan
  • making
  • testing

Unit 4

  • research and analysis
  • product specification
  • design and development
  • planning
  • making
  • testing and evaluating

Graphics trip

Each year the Design & Technology Department takes Year 10 and 12 students to visit the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum during the summer term.  The trip is designed to engage students with their project work and with the way they approach their GCSE or A Level projects.  

Norwich University of the Arts

Y10, 12 and 13 students visit Norwich University of the Arts.  This gives them an insight into different areas of Art and Design that they could aspire to.

Engineering Club and STEM activities

A weekly engineering club for years 7 to 9 gives pupils opportunities to develop their problem solving skills as well as use equipment to complete practical projects.

There are also competitions which we enter, such as the Smallpeice glider design challenge, which our pupils won in 2016.

Rotary competition

The Rotary Club holds an annual technology tournament, in which our students regularly do very well.