Skip to content

Design & Technology GCSE

Mr A. Dolman

Head of Department

Examining Board AQA 

Reasons for studying this subject: 

In Design and Technology the students study product design. This is the process of identifying a market opportunity, clearly defining the problem, developing a proper solution for that problem and testing the solution with potential customers. Students will learn to deliver their thinking and design skills through iterative design processes that allow them to ‘explore, create and evaluate’ following practices and strategies used by the creative, engineering and manufacturing industries.  

Key principles include knowledge of materials and processes, basic engineering principles, creative design and will provide students with the chance to develop practical skills when making and realising their own designed products in many different materials. 

This is a subject that encourages students to apply knowledge that they have gained from many other areas of the curriculum to the solving of practical problems. 

What you will be studying: 

This exciting GCSE course allows students to explore, via practical projects and tasks, a variety of different material areas. Students will learn about the following key areas: 

Approaches to designing: 

  • Design strategies 
  • Designers and design eras 
  • The work of companies such as Dyson, Alessi and Apple 
  • Ecological, environmental and social issues 

Designing products 

  • Researching 
  • Designing 
  • Modelling 
  • Computer Aided Design (2D and 3D) 
  • Computer Aided Manufacture (laser and 3D printing) 

Materials and tools and their processes 

  • Making products in wood, metals, plastics, textiles and electronics 
  • Safe working practices in a workshops 
  • Use of hand and machine tools 
  • Use of ‘smart’ materials 
  • Mechanical systems  

New and emerging technologies 

  • Technology push and market pull 
  • Robotics and automation in manufacturing 
  • The impact on industry, society and employment 

Page Break 

How you will learn in Product Design 

Students will be expected to undertake a series of design and make based activities and tasks in order to learn about a variety of materials, processes, machinery/tools and other wider aspects of Product Design and D&T. Alongside these practical activities will run strategic teacher led focused tasks, research assignments and mini practical projects. In addition they will learn to work with and produce A3 project design portfolios. 

How you will be assessed: 

Non-Exam (coursework) assessment (NEA):  

  • 30 – 35 hours approx.
  • 50% of GCSE

Exam assessment:  

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 50% of GCSE


Section A – core technical principles (20 marks) 

A mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical 

knowledge and understanding. 

Section B – specialist technical principles (30 marks) 

Several short answer questions (2–5 marks) and one extended response to assess a more in depth knowledge of technical principles. 

Section C – designing and making principles (50 marks) 

A mixture of short answer and extended response questions. 

Contact: Mr A. Dolman

Careers In Design and Technology

Design and Technology is a practical and valuable subject. There are many employment routes that use the skills learned, for example creativity, problem solving, planning, and evaluation skills. In addition students will learn how to take risks and so become more resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable.

Future employment routes traditionally split into five key areas

  • Electronic and systems design: Britain is a world leader in electronics with over 90% of all mobile phone electronics designed here.
  • Food technology: Catering is a huge employer within the tourism industry. There are interesting careers in food product design for supermarkets and confectionary.
  • Product design: designing consumer products with wood metals and plastics. Interesting career areas include automotive, aerospace, robotics and interior design.
  • Engineering and construction: get involved in architecture and civil engineering for instance.
  • Textiles technology: Obviously there is the fashion industry but also there are ‘technical textiles’; the parachute for the recent NASA Mars lander were designed and made in Devon!


Labour Market Information – LMI

It is really useful to look at the labour market when considering a career related to Product Design.  For example if you were to work as a Design and Development Engineer, you can expect the industry to grow by 5.1% over the period to 2027, creating 4,100 jobs. In the same period, 39.9% of the workforce is projected to retire, creating 32,300 job openings.

The LMI for All portal provides high quality, reliable LMI information – see link below:

Pathways Example Post 16 Routes – Level 3

  • A-Level Product Design
  • BTEC Level courses in engineering, electrical engineering, marine engineering and construction.

Pathways Example Post 16 – Apprenticeship Ideas


  • Work within the marine sector on the design, installation and maintenance of electrical equipment and systems.


  • Work in the automotive industry maintaining vehicles.


On construction sites, mark out where walls should go and where concrete should be poured using electrical equipment. Managing sub-contractors on site, making sure they hit their deadlines.