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Design Technology (Product Design)

Why Study Design Technology?

“Science and Mathematics alone cannot provide the creative thinking and hands-on experience that is essential to producing world-class designers and engineers. An understanding of Design and Technology ensures that pupils have the tools to survive in an increasingly fast-paced, innovation-hungry marketplace.” John Mathers, former Chief Executive, Design Council.

The study of DT allows pupils to use creativity and imagination when applying design processes to develop and modify designs and to make prototypes that solve real world problems, through a consideration of user needs, wants and values. Pupils on this course will be encouraged to develop their intellectual curiosity regarding the design and manufacture of products and systems, recognising the impact these have on our daily life. Pupils are encouraged to work collaboratively to develop and refine their ideas, responding positively to feedback from users, peers and expert practitioners. This subject has relevance across a range of professions although many on this course go on to pursue Product Design or Engineering related careers.

Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE Product Design or similar
Technology course. Grade 6 in GCSE Maths and English
Language is also required. A portfolio of work is also
required for consideration

Course Outline

The subject is taught through guided units with a practical emphasis. The course is flexible, allowing pupils to pursue a route through the subject which best reflects individual interests and potential career choices. In the Lower Sixth there is a focus on experimenting with a range of materials, developing new skills and gaining confidence in creative problem solving; in the Upper Sixth these skills are applied to a major ‘Design, Make and Evaluate’ unit. The organisation of the course allows a large proportion of time to be allocated to this component.
The course consists of:

  • Project component – 50% of the qualification
  • One externally examined paper – 50% of the qualification

Course Delivery

The major coursework unit requires pupils to produce a coursework portfolio and a 3D manufactured product of their own choosing. Candidates start by identifying market needs and opportunities for new products and are then encouraged to think creatively, innovatively and critically through focused research and exploration of design opportunities arising from the needs, wants and values of clients and end users. The final outcome should demonstrate high level designing, manufacturing and evaluating skills as well as showcasing creativity and innovation. Pupils’ should be open to taking design risks and showing enterprise while also considering their role as responsible designers and citizens. Practical outcomes will be informed by high-level computer-aided design and manufacturing skills and in-depth subject knowledge. Throughout the unit pupils will take a product through the stages of designing, prototyping and realisation including an awareness of commercial manufacturing pro

There is also a 2.5hr examination ‘Principles of Design and Technology’ based on the study of twelve topics that test pupils’ understanding of DT theory. Throughout the course there will be a focus on developing a critical understanding of the wider influences on design and technology, including cultural, economic, environmental, historical and social factors. Opportunities will be provided for pupils to integrate and apply their understanding and knowledge from other subject areas, with a particular focus on Science and Mathematics.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

All A-level DT pupils will be expected to engage in a range of extra- curricular opportunities to develop the skills, understanding and knowledge that will underpin success in this subject. The most committed of our Sixth Form are celebrated as subject Ambassadors and the ablest have enjoyed success through the Arkwright Engineering Scholarships and Teen Tech Competition entries. Past pupils have gone on to study a range of related disciplines such as Civil and Automotive Engineering (Bath), Architecture or Interior Architecture (Brighton), Industrial, Robotic or Product Design (Loughborough), Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering (Southampton), Design Engineering (Imperial College), Product Design (Kingston) and most recently, an apprenticeship at the Dyson School of Design Engineering.