The Design & Technology GCSE is for students who enjoy all aspects of the designing and making process. Students should be highly motivated and dedicated to the subject and have the desire to help shape the future of the increasingly technological world around them.
The course will enable students to become confident, successful learners. They gain the transferrable skills of logical thinking, researching, planning, ICT, problem solving and teamwork as well as the specialist technical skills which will enable students to be successful in a wide range of careers and occupations.
Students will be expected to apply excellent effort in all work completed in class and at home, ensuring that they meet deadlines on time.
Students can continue the Design & Technology pathway by completing the A Level D&T Product Design course. Design & Technology can set students up for a career in a myriad of industries such as architecture, engineering, information technology, creative and media industries, product design, advertising and marketing.
During the course, students will gain awareness and learn from the wider influences on Design & Technology including historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. Students will have the opportunity to work creatively when designing and making using papers, boards, timber, metal-based materials and polymers and apply technical and practical expertise. They will learn how to use the machinery and equipment safely to protect themselves and others from harm. Students will also learn mathematical and scientific knowledge and understanding in relation to Design and Technology.
How will I be assessed and what will I be studying?
Students follow the AQA Examination Board course 8552.
They will learn technical skills through a series of short projects and focused tasks in response to a design brief. Students complete research tasks to explore the core technical principles, specialist technical principles as well as designing and making principles. They will look at both historical and contemporary design to inform their ideas. Students have the opportunity to learn through engaging in a variety of practical tasks.
The course is structured as follows:
Students will complete a 2 hour written exam which accounts for 50% of the GCSE. The exam assesses students’ knowledge of the core technical principles, specialist technical principles and design and making principles of Design & Technology.
Maths and Science knowledge also contributes 15%.
The other 50% which contributes to the Design & Technology GCSE is the NEA (Non-Exam Assessment). This consists of one practical activity wherein students develop a brief in response to a contextual challenge set by the exam board which is released on June 1st in the year before the submission. Students will produce a prototype and portfolio of evidence which will be internally marked and externally moderated by a representative from the exam board.
Useful websites/further reading:
AQA A-Level Design and Technology: Product Design 7552
Level Design & Technology in Product Design is a continuum from the GCSE in Design and
Technology. It is essential that students applying for the A Level course have a genuine interest in D&T, a diligent and methodical approach to their studies.
Students must achieve a grade 9-5 pass in Design and Technology.
The 2 year course is designed to equip students with design skills for the future, recognise
design needs and develop an understanding of how global issues and the latest technologies
have an impact on the world around them. Students learn and apply key design skills that
prepare them for the modern world. They develop confidence to take design risks through the
encouragement of innovation and creativity and further their understanding of new and
Mathematical and scientific principles are an integral part of the designing and developing
process and students will be expected to apply these principles when considering the designs
How will I be assessed and what will I be studying?
The A-Level Design Technology in Product Design consists of 2 components:
Component 1 9DT0/01: Principles of Design Technology – 50% of A Level – Written Exam 2
hours 30 minutes.
Component 2 9DT0/02: Independent Design and Make Project – 50% of A Level – Non
The first component covers the Principles of Design and Technology. It covers the following
materials, performance characteristics of materials, processes and techniques, digital
technologies, factors influencing the development of products, effects of technological
developments, potential hazards and risk assessment, features of manufacturing industries,
designing for maintenance and the cleaner environment, current legislation, information
handling, modelling and forward planning and further processes and techniques.
The exam paper includes calculations, short-open and open-response questions as well as
The second component is an independent design and make project. Students produce a
substantial design, make and evaluate project which consists of a portfolio and prototype.
There are 4 parts to the assessment covering the identification of a design problem,
developing the design, making the prototype and evaluating both the design and the final
prototype. The investigation report is internally assessed and externally moderated.
The course enables progression towards degrees and careers in a wide range of Design and
Technology industries such as: advertising, architecture, construction, carpentry, engineering,
graphic design, media, manufacturing, marketing, motor vehicle design, repair, product design,
sales and many others.