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Design Technology

Subject Teacher: Rev. S. Bright

The Design and Technology curriculum aims to prepare students with skills and knowledge around a range of resistant material areas.  They will develop investigative, practical and creative skills using a variety of tools and equipment in KS3 and develop specialist skills and knowledge for those opting for GCSE Design and Technology in KS4. 

In key stage 3, Design and Technology is a part of the wider technology carousel.  During these lessons, students learn about how to develop ideas through a range of project based tasks and investigation. They study the theory of material areas and learn how to use creative thinking to develop new ideas. Workshop safety and an overview of the design process are taught in year 7.  Year 8 sees us build on practical and design skill sets through a range of mini projects.  In year 9 we undertake a wider design and make project and start to encourage students to use iterative design and CAD CAM, alongside introducing what Design and Technology will entail at KS4.

All students have the opportunity to study Design and Technology at KS4.  Whilst studying the course, students learn subject specific theory and skills such as:

  • Materials and their working properties
  • Mechanical devices
  • Systems approaches to design
  • Ecological and sociological aspects of design
  • Energy generation and storage
  • Specialist principals in woods, metals and plastics

Design and Technology also develops students abilities to create and develop products through investigation of the wider design process.  They develop creative thinking, problem solving, self discipline, independent learning and ICT skills.  The design process follows an iterative design process, whereby students will follow a path which helps them develop and improve continuously, as designers work in the real world. This is assessed through a non examination assessment (NEA)

The design process involves:

  • Investigating a problem
  • Developing a design brief and specification
  • Generation of ideas
  • Development of ideas
  • Development of a working prototype
  • Evaluation

The course interleaves theory and practical topics so students gain a working knowledge of how the theory is implemented.  In year 10, this involves a series of mini projects which help connect the theory work and builds secure knowledge.  Students begin by examining the ‘Core Technical Principals’ section of the theory.  This helps them examine some basic principles surrounding Design and Technology.  This then becomes a foundation for wider knowledge developed through specialist technical principles in Woods, metals and plastics.  As topics are covered, there are unit tests which also revisit previous topics to link to prior knowledge.

Students complete work in booklets which go into a folder, along with practice examinations and practical resources. This provides a revision resource which the students can develop and personalise throughout the course.  Some work is also done through ICT and Google drive so knowledge of using computers is developed and encouraged through the use of CAD CAM including developing products using the laser cutter and industry standard machinery.

Through studying GCSE Design and Technology, students can go onto study a wide range of academic and practical courses to prepare for a career in many design related disciplines.  The subject will provide the basis for an apprenticeship in a trade area or work within the manufacturing industry.  At A level, students can specialise by pursuing a course in Graphic, product or 3D design. Degree based options are available in high end careers such as engineering, architecture, graphics or many design disciplines.

The subject content contained within our curriculum is mainly compliant with the statutory content outlined in the Key Stage 3 and 4 National Curriculum.  The areas which are not compliant at KS3 is ‘investigating new and emerging technologies’.  Due to limited time on rotations, this is taken into the KS4 curriculum, although opportunities are given for examining new technology through the Formula 24 project which looks at implementation of electrical vehicle technology.  Although electronic products are covered in yr 9, we don't look at programming and intelligent electronics but some of this is covered through ICT and computer science curriculums.

If opting for GCSE Design and Technology, all students learn all of the topics covered by the AQA specification. Students who excel in Design and Technology have further opportunities during lessons to independently investigate new and emerging technologies.  The structure of the projects allows high attaining students to focus their skills on more in depth prototyping such as electronics, 3D printing, experimentation with CAM, use of more developed CAD software and specialist tools such as the lathe and Brazing hearth.  They are encouraged to come into the workshop in their own time where they can use a wide range of equipment and resources to develop and innovate.

Students are encouraged to develop employability skills such as problem solving, independent learning, team work, creativity, working to deadlines, health and safety, ICT skills and investigative skills.

We ensure that Year 7 effectively builds upon content delivered during Key Stage 2 by using basic tools and equipment first, questioning and examining key skills in early year 7 and by using tasks such as the coping saw driving test to test key skill levels.

The Design and Technology curriculum has links with the following subject areas:

  • Art: Yr 7: Sketching skills, color theory, modeling skills   Yr 8: 3D technical drawing and rendering, Using inspiration, engraving    Yr 9: painting as a finish, 3D sketching, rendering  KS 4: Creative thinking skills
  •  Science: Yr7: timber properties, polymers, mechanisms, Yr 8: metals, casting, heat processes Yr 9: electronic components, Resistor calculations, soldering  KS4: scientific properties across all material areas.  Calculations, physics equations etc.
  • Maths: Yr 7: gear ratios, measurements, engineering drawings, isometric drawing, geometry
  • PE: Anthropometrics and ergonomics, high performance materials
  • Textiles: Textiles investigations
  • RE: social and economic issues
  • Geography: Origins of materials and power generation, sustainability
  • Complimentary studies: Social and economic issues
  • ICT and computer science: Use of ICT resources, CAD CAM, problem solving, electronics and systems design

We develop students’ Cultural Capital whilst studying Design Technology by giving opportunities for out of school learning such as trips to Teen tech and engineering challenges.  Students have the opportunity to engage in the Greenpower Formula 24 project where they can build and race an electric car. We have had speakers come in from Greenpower to deliver their expertise.  We operate an open workshop policy, allowing students of all ages and abilities to come in and participate in DT in their own time if they would like.