Design Technology

Department vision

Design and Technology is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, students design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts. Students learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world. High-quality design and technology education makes an essential contribution to the creativity, culture, wealth and well-being of the nation.

Year 7

Year 7

As students start the school, we introduce students to some new and some familiar materials, techniques and equipment. Across the whole of year 7 we visit the different stages of the design process, exposing students to situations which will develop their understanding of the stages and developing creativity and resilience. Key stage 3 is compressed into year 7 and 8. Students study one double lesson a week of either Food and Nutrition or Product Design, on a nine week rotation with IT and Music.

Product Design (Resistant Materials and Textiles)

Food and Nutrition


Day of the Dead E-Textiles Project

In Year 7, students are introduced to a range of textile techniques, processes and equipment. They develop skills in hand sewing, embroidery and designing a cultural product reflecting research and creating a mood board.

Students also use analysis of existing products to develop an awareness of how these can help to inform the design process and evaluate the effectiveness of their final products. There is an emphasis on producing a quality product and so students are encouraged to work accurately. Students create a circuit using conductive materials that enables two LEDs to work; this requires an understanding of basic circuits and components as well as an opportunity to use problem solving and creativity to ensure the product works.

Whirlygig Garden Ornament Product.

Students will be introduced to workshop practise, learning how to work safely and with regard for others, and will use a wide range of hand and electric tools and equipment. Using testing and materials knowledge, students design a garden whirligig ornament. Students explore wind resistance and experiment with shapes to design a weather vane that moves in the wind.

Students explore the properties of aluminium and acrylic, as well as how to form and shape them to create a well made and high quality product. Students investigate sustainability and how, as designers, manufacturers and consumers, we make decisions about products that affect the world around us.

In Food Technology, students develop a range of skills, both practical and academic. In practical lessons students make a variety of products that build a foundation of skills that are built upon as they go through the key stage. Students learn about health and hygiene, healthy eating and nutrition, how to design for others and how to design and make food products.

Focussed practical tasks include amongst others; breakfast bars, savoury crumble, salad pots and pizza. Practical skills involve fruit and vegetable preparation, how to use a hob and oven safely and rubbing in and kneading.

Students learn how to conduct a product disassembly, gather sensory testing of a product and how to modify a product for a given target market. Students look at sustainability and seasonality of fruit and vegetables and use this information to inform the designing of products that have less impact on the environment.


Year 8

Year 8

All projects in KS3 are on a year’s rotation, with all year 7s and 8s completing similar products, with the Year 8 students working at a higher level as well as starting to learn some of the processes and concepts expected by KS4 work. In year 8 students have the opportunity to revisit parts of the design process in order to reflect on prior learning and develop independence and resilience to make progression. Students use their learning of materials, techniques and equipment to make design decisions that are enriched by a wide range of research techniques that support the students to work creatively. Key Stage 3 is completed by the end of Year 8, enabling students to start considering the options available to them in Key Stage 4.

Product Design (Resistant Materials and Textiles)

Food and Nutrition

In year 8 students will be investigating metals: their properties and the processes used to work with them. They will be designing and making a simple metal and acrylic product using aluminium. Students will learn how to shape and finish the different metals and how to join the metals together using pop  rivets, as well as forming materials through beating and line bending

They will also be developing their previous knowledge of electronics and systems and control through designing and producing a cultural product to reflect the Day of the Dead Festival. Students learn about Quality Control and Assurance and how as manufacturers, they can meet those aspects of their products. Students analyse existing products in order to helpthem design relevant products that are sold to celebrate a cultural festival.

Students complete a range of hand finishing techniques, such as beading, applique within their product, as well as testing a range of these hand finishing techniques to trial different weight threads as well as blending threads and applications.






In Year 8 Food Technology students further explore nutrition and the function of ingredients through a range of tasks and products. Students are introduced to the concept of designing for others and developing ideas through market research and investigation. Students make a range of popular cultural foods, including pizza, tomato and cheese pasta, stir fry and curry. Using the learning from these activities and further research into cultural foods and ingredients, students then develop one of the recipes to create a fusion dish, where they blend the processes, flavours and ingredients to create an innovative and imaginative dish.

Students develop a range of skills in Year 8, including pasta and pizza dough making and familiarise themselves with the equipment needed. Students reinforce their learning from Year 7 and add to it by exploring processes such as gelatinisation, kneading and raising agents. New equipment such as the food processor and pasta machine is introduced and students learn how to use these safely and effectively. Students develop a knowledge of health and nutrition as well as quality control and hygiene controls to  ensure high quality, safe food products.

Students start to look at the science of food and the ingredients that they use to enable them to understand how the ingredients work within the products that they have made.


Year 9

Year 9

In Design Technology, across all the strands, Year 9 is an opportunity to explore the skills, processes and materials further, enabling the students to have a taste of what GCSE Design Technology holds in store. Students use their experiences to make informed decisions about their options, recognising that many of the skills that they develop are easily transferred across the other subjects and also are a great stepping stone to being a well organised sixth form student.

Product Design



In Product Design students study a range of graphics techniques to develop their design communication skills whilst undertaking a mini GCSE style project. Students are introduced to a range of drawing and ICT techniques to create professional design drawings. Through research and design development, students explore materials and joining and construction techniques associated with timber to create a high quality product, preparing them for the GCSE syllabus.


Students are introduced to the concept of Fashion Trending and create a ‘Look sheet’ of various garments to demonstrate their understanding of how one type of garment can be modified and altered to change its style and appeal. Students are shown how to take measurement s and transfer them to alter patterns to create a better fitting product. Students design and create a pair of shorts, inserting pockets and other features to produce a high quality and well planned product.

Year 9 is used as an exciting opportunity to introduce some more complex skills and to design and make a product using these skills. Students learn a range of techniques and analyse their results to then reflect and design and make a product for the school canteen. This is chance for students to have a taste of the expectations of the GCSE Food Technology through a mini design project that seems them explore a range of cake making techniques, a vital part of the GCSE curriculum.


Year 10

Year 10

At GCSE, students study the AQA Design Technology specifications. Students explore materials, processes and techniques. In all strands creative and innovative designing and making are an important part of understanding how the materials/ingredients function within a product.

Product Design



Students choosing GCSE Product Design study a larger and diverse range of topics within the GCSE curriculum. The AQA syllabus is combined of a Controlled Assessment and a written examination. In Year 10 students cover the theory work that is needed for the examination and carry out various focussed practical tasks and projects to reinforce the theory, along with extended written answers. Some of the many topics covered are: design history, consumer rights, social moral and environmental impacts of materials and processes, packaging, manufacturing systems, CAD/CAM, new and smart materials to name just a few.

At GCSE, we follow the AQA Design and Technology, Textile Technology specification. In Year 10 we cover much of the theory work that is needed for the examination and conduct weekly focussed practical tasks to reinforce the theory. Among the many topics we cover are: methods of colour application, fibre science, care labelling, seams, fastenings, pockets, pleats, gathers, darts, the social, moral and environmental impact of textile products and how to use a commercial paper pattern. In the second half of year 10, students complete a mini controlled assessment project to practice many of the skills needed the following year.

At GCSE, we follow the AQA Design and Technology, Food Technology specification. Students have a wide curriculum taking in aspects of Food safety, nutrition, dietary needs, preservation and storage, sensory testing, designing for target markets needs and many more. Most of the theory curriculum is covered in year 10 and this is reinforced through a range of interesting focussed practical tasks. Students make a range of dishes that not only help them to understand the nutritional and physical functions of ingredients, but also the processes and techniques that create the finished products. Focussed practical tasks include Cheese and onion pasties, lasagne, lemon meringue pie and quiche.

Year 11

Year 11

In all strands, most of year 11 is dedicated to completing the Controlled Assessment, which constitutes 60% of the overall grade. Through the Controlled Assessment much of the curriculum is revised, particularly the design process. After Easter, dedicated revision of the theory and preparing for the exam preliminary design task is the main focus of lessons.

Product Design



The Controlled Assessment part of the GCSE course is conducted in school and accounts for 60% of the overall grade with the written examination, taken at the end of year 11, contributing to the other 40%. The Controlled Assessment work consists of approximately 45 hours of work to fulfil a brief chosen by the students in which they research, design, make, develop, test and evaluate a product for a specific target market. This constitutes a maximum of 20 concisely written pages along with the 3D artefact they produce.

The Controlled Assessment element of the GCSE in Textile Technology is worth 60% of the overall grade. It comprises of 45 hours work, in which students have to respond to a chosen design task. Following extensive research, designing and testing, students make a product that fulfils the context and specification. Students are expected to complete 20 A3 pages of written work to accompany their practical activities that explains the journey that they have taken from the task setting to the final product.

The Controlled Assessment part of the GCSE in Food Technology constitutes 60% of the overall grade. It comprises of 45 hours work, in which students have to answer a chosen design task. Following extensive research, designing and testing, students make a product that fulfils the context and specification. Students are expected to complete 20 A3 pages of written work to accompany their practical activities that explains the journey that they have taken from the task setting to the final product.


Years 7-9

Across all strands students are encouraged to use the Learning Passport to plan their progression. Work is assessed in line with the school marking policy and written targets, levels and mind-set grades are awarded, recognising that effort and attitude are a valuable vehicle for making great achievement. In year 7 and 8, students are assessed with a numerical grade consistent with the new GSCE grading, accompanied by a letter-a,b,c. The application of the letter indicates where in the grade the student is, with a indicating the top of the grade band. For example, as student achieving a 1a is aware that they are working at the top of the 1 band and close to moving upwards.

In KS3 we predict a student’s flight path to their final GCSE grade. Within the Learning Passport, students can identify what they need to do to improve their work and their grade. It can also be used prior to completing work to allow students to understand the requirements for each level of work and to promote ambition and high expectations.

In Year 9, student’s work is assessed on the new numerical GCSE grading system. An effort and mindset grade is also awarded and targets and improvements are given to support a student’s progress.

In KS4 students are studying the theory for their exam and in year 11 students are completing their Controlled Assessment. In Year 10, students work is assessed for each topic, students are awarded with a grade that indicates the grade that they would attain for each individual piece of work as if it was an exam activity. In Year 11 individual pages are graded and the specification is highlighted for the level of work that they have produces. Students are able to use the large bank of resources and the specification to work out what they need to do to improve their work in order to improve their grade. Termly reports award a mind-set grade as well as a current and predicted grade.

Staff have consistently high expectations of students and work that does not reflect the student’s potential is challenged and support is given to help the students reach or exceed their potential.

Related careers

It is widely noted that the skills learned in Design Technology across the key stages are all highly regarded skills in many careers. The creative arts industry is one of the fastest growing in the country and contributes over £75 billion to the economy, meaning that there are a huge range of careers both at home and abroad that offer a rewarding experience and healthy salary.

  • Designer (Fashion, jewellery, product, web, digital and many more)

  • Graphic Designer/advertising executive

  • Architect

  • Landscape/environmental architect

  • Engineer

  • Food technologist

  • Buyer

  • Design Journalist

  • Interior designer

  • Surface designer (wallpaper, fabric etc)

  • Model maker/propmaker

  • Set Designer (film, TV, theatre)

  • Costume designer