Design Technology


The Technology department encompasses several strands.

The rationale behind DT is problem solving in an analytical fashion, by applying an iterative design process to a problem, producing solutions which take account of the opinions and requirements of others as well as the work of other designers and makers.

The approach taken is a project based one where the full design process is followed and culminates in a make activity.

In the design process a number of visual aspects are taught – sketching, drawing, rendering and the application of these to produce 2D and 3d imagery using pencil and pen techniques as well as CAD together with appropriate presentation and representation techniques as well as an appreciation of line quality.

All design work is annotated using the same guidelines of describe, justify, opinion and alternative -to allow students of all abilities to develop their skills in explaining their work to others through visual and written means.

Research is used to appreciate the work of others, including an introduction to other designers and design styles – as well as being a tool for choosing and justifying materials and processes.

Making covers the shaping of various materials including engineered timbers, natural timbers, together with polymers such as acrylic and polystyrene. Techniques used include laser cutting, as well as shaping and cutting by hand and machine tools with the subsequent finishing of materials to a high standard including the application of colour. Materials are joined using various fixing types and processes covering temporary and permanent types.

Electronics are incorporated into project work where possible and include an introduction to a number of standard electronic components and their inclusion in circuit boards designed for a variety of purposes. Where possible these circuit boards are produced in school rather than buying kits, to show the processes involved in designing and producing the boards. Students assemble the boards and components to learn the production techniques as well as building resilience through fault finding.

Evaluating and commenting on the work of other students is encouraged, as is helping others when difficulty is encountered.

Computer use is integral to DT, both for specialist use through CAD and CAM, and general use to present work. Computer use is especially encouraged in supporting clarity of presentation for all – and a variety of software is used both installed and cloud based.


Year Content and implementation
7 and 8 Year 7 and Y8 groups are mixed and follow DT in a rotation so both follow the same project route through KS3.

Skills introduced are the design process, research, ideas – sketching, drawing, annotating and presentation, using CAD and CAM such as laser cutting and vinyl sticker production to support the development and iteration of making of the chosen idea. Using machinery and hand tools safely in the workshop to produce the chosen design. Is important and independence is highly encouraged, as is the mindset that mistakes happen and can usually be fixed.

Projects are done on a rotation with Y7/8 this year designing and making a pinball game. Mechanisms such as levers and pivots play an important role in making this work, as does exploring the working properties of a variety of materials.

CAD and CAM is encouraged throughout projects, and the torch project which is purely polymer based (acrylic) is very much a CAD skills extender where after sketching, drawing and then rendering their ideas to extend their graphic skills, the students use an increasing number of the software tools in their drawings. The drawings are used to cut the components out using a laser cutter. Parts are then further worked on using hand tools to make them more ergonomic , with polishing being the final stage.

Also on this rotation is an automatic colour changing night light, and this allows students to incorporate electronics into their work and experience putting electronic components together into a circuit board. They see the circuit board production process in school, and do all the preparation such as precision drilling themselves. The concept of electronics reacting to its environment brings in a systems approach where there is an input control and output. Year 8 students in the group explore in more depth their ideas, and become much more independent in choosing the processes they use. They will also analyse in more depth. These 2 years are very much skill building and give the students as wide an experience of the facilities available to them. Some choose to incorporate 3D printing into their work.

9 Year 9 complete an identity project. This is a shorter rotation, and starts with thinking about who the project is for, finding images that could be incorporated and then producing drawn design work based on this.

The outcome is a flashing nameplate where a pair of LEDs are an integral part of the final design. Students can customise number and position as long as they can complete the extra work to make this happen. Constraints to materials are part of the design process, as the circuit board the students make has to be hidden as does the battery box. Forward thinking and quick accurate work are encouraged as is an ever increasing independence. Student can choose between a wider range of processes as their experiences, skill and familiarity widens and increases. Analysis is expected to be in more depth and the students able to explain all decisions in applying wider skills to their work.

10 DT Year 10 DT follows GCSE DT under the AQA specification. This is a revised subject where students are encouraged to pull prior learning into choosing which direction their work takes. Students are given a mini project which expands on the KS3 work, with written analysis, in depth research, environmental considerations and design iteration and modelling being of increasing importance. There is a focus on design folder work as this is where the marks are  mostly based
10 Engineering In Engineering students learn about the different sectors of engineering and how they apply to engineered products. They also learn about legislation that applies in the workplace including health and safety. They are introduced to 3D CAD modelling and design through AutoCAD. Materials are introduced together with their classification. Practice for the 3 units is started and the students learn about the academically correct way to write reports using appropriate layouts, tools and referencing techniques. Some practical work is undertaken to reinforce the classroom based learning in CAD and drawing interpretation.
11 DT Students engage in one of the exam board supplied project scenarios and produce a design folder focused on iteration and development, through drawing CAD and modelling. Students using whichever area of interest they have within the DT field to add value and direction to their work. This could be electronic, mechanical, graphical, systems based (using programmable components) or purely materials based. Students make or model their final design. There is heavy emphasis on using client input throughout, as well as considering their responsibility as a designer towards the environment. There is a final exam with split of marks being 50/ 50 between coursework and exam. In the coursework the split is 80/20 folder work to practical work. Maths plays an important role too as the exam has mathematics based questions regarding the making and production of components.
11 Engineering Y11 focuses on producing the 2 written units that are required for internal assessment towards the qualification. One is a study on an engineered product of the students choice where a full report is produced with an emphasis on the engineering sectors and how they are integrated into a full product . Formally written using the learning from Y10 this report includes research and analysis with the students drawing conclusions which are fully justified.

The second internal unit is more design based. A brief is given and students respond to this through 3D CAD design, together with supporting documentation and analysis. Maths plays an important part with mass, volume and sizing having to meet the given criteria of the brief. Students show calculations which prove those aspects of their design. Stress analysis is done to also ensure strength criteria are met.

Materials are looked at in more depth, together with continuing work on engineering sectors, health and safety and other workplace legislation. Some practical work is used to reinforce learning such as drawing interpretation and working to tolerances. This follows further design exercises and focuses on accuracy.

 A set final piece of 3D CAD design work, together with an accompanying report forms the final unit. This is in response to an exam board provided brief. This final unit is then sent for external assessment. There is a set time limit of 3 hours on this piece of work and students have to work completely independently.



DT is assessed on a section of work basis – for example marked research, marked design, CAD work and development work together with a practical piece. As the subject is assessed holistically students can excel in a particular aspect of the work or be weaker in an area and this is taken into account when deciding on the final attainment grade. Feedback is given throughout, both written and verbal as work progresses. Students are encouraged to be honest and open in thinking about their own work, making and suggesting improvements both in response to this as well as teacher feedback.

Engineering is assessed on a unit by unit basis with feedback given as each practice unit progresses. Feedback is both verbal and written. Students are questioned using directed question sessions, as well as engaging in computer based quiz type revision. Independence is very much encouraged – as is peer to peer help and advice for improvement.


Link to GCSE specification(s)


Engineering BTec