Design & Tech

Design & Tech

Key Stage 3

In Design & Technology, pupils combine practical and technological skills with creative thinking to design and make products and systems that meet human needs.

They combine practical and intellectual skills with an understanding of aesthetic, technical, cultural, health, social, emotional, economic, industrial and environmental issues. As they do so, they evaluate present and past design and technology, its uses and effects. Through design and technology pupils develop confidence in using practical skills and become discriminating users of products. They apply their creative thinking and learn to innovate.

Design and Technology is a wide-ranging subject that calls on knowledge and concepts developed within other areas of the curriculum. Design and Technology applies and extends these in a practical manner reinforcing and enhancing the whole curriculum.

Design and Technology is delivered through the following disciplines: Resistant Materials, Cooking and Nutrition, Graphics, Electronics and Textiles. During year 7 and 8 students will study two lessons of 50 minutes per week where they study the Design & Technology disciplines in a carousel throughout the year.

Key concepts

  • Designing and making: Knowledge of materials and production processes to design and produce solutions that are fit for purpose and may impact on the quality of life. Exploring past, current and possible future designs.
  • Cultural understanding: Exploring how products contribute to lifestyle and consumer choices and how they evolve according to users and designers’ needs, beliefs, values and traditions.
  • Creativity: Exploring and experimenting with ideas, materials, technologies and techniques.
  • Critical evaluation: Analysing existing products and solutions to inform designing and making.

Key Stage 4

Students have an option of selecting between:

  • Design and Technology – Timbers (Pearson)
  • Design and Technology – Paper and Board (Pearson)
  • Hospitality and Catering Level 1/2 Award (Spec A) (WJEC)

Design and Technology (Timbers or Paper & Board route)

The GCSE in Design and Technology enables students to understand and apply iterative design processes through which they explore, create and evaluate a range of outcomes. The qualification enables students to use creativity and imagination to design and make prototypes (together with evidence of modelling to develop and prove product concept and function) that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. It gives students opportunities to apply knowledge from other disciplines, including mathematics, science, art and design, computing and the humanities.

Students will acquire subject knowledge in design and technology that builds on Key Stage 3, incorporating knowledge and understanding of different materials and manufacturing processes in order to design and make, with confidence, prototypes in response to issues, needs, problems and opportunities. Students learn how to take design risks, helping them to become resourceful, innovative and enterprising citizens. They should develop an awareness of practices from the creative, engineering and manufacturing industries. Through the critique of the outcomes of design and technology activity, both historic and present day, students should develop an understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world and understand that high-quality design and technology is important to the creativity, culture, sustainability, wealth and wellbeing of the nation and the global community. (Pearson, 2016)


Component 1:

Written examination at the end of year 11: 1 hour and 45 minutes

50% of the GCSE qualification

100 marks

Component 2:

Non-examined assessment (Starts in year 10)

50% GCSE of the qualification

100 marks

Key stage 5

At Harlington School we follow the AQA A-level Design and Technology: Product Design that helps students take a broad view of design and technology, develop their capacity to design and make products and appreciate the complex relations between design, materials, manufacture and marketing.

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


Paper 1- Technical principles

Written exam at the end of year 13: 2 hours and 30 minutes

120 marks

30% of A-level

Paper 2- Designing and making principles

Written exam at the end of year 13: 1 hour and 30 minutes

80 marks

20% of A-level

Non-exam Assessment

Practical application of technical principles, designing and making principles.

Substantial design and make project (throughout year 12 and 13)

100 marks

50% of A-level