GCSE – Design and Technology

Why is Design and Technology important?

Design and Technology is purposeful, as well as being fun and exciting! Studying GCSE Design and Technology will build on what you learnt about designing and making in Key Stage 3. You will use your knowledge and skills to design and make new and better solutions to real problems – on your own and with others – working with materials you choose. You will apply your D&T skills and knowledge (and what you learn in maths, science, art and design and other subjects) to solve real-life problems through hands-on project work.

What is involved in the Design and Technology course?

There are several aspects that you will study throughout the course.

Learning about New and Emerging Technologies: you will investigate industry and enterprise, sustainability and the environment, people, culture and society and production techniques and systems.

Learning about Energy, Materials, Systems and Devices: in this topic, you will explore energy generation and storage, traditional, modern, and smart materials, as well as how to select the best materials for making your designs.

Learning about specialist principles: this unit explores forces and stresses, our ecological and social footprint, the six Rs and scales of production.

Understanding users: where you will research who your product is for and their needs and consider how the product will be used.

Designing including Computer Aided Design (CAD): in this topic, you will explore taking risks to create more imaginative ideas, and how you clearly communicate your design ideas to others.

Analysing products: where you will develop your understanding of how everyday products have been designed and made, as well as learning about the work of past and present designers, makers, and engineers.

Making including Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM): where we will look at working safely with tools and equipment and making high quality working prototypes.

Evaluating your own and others’ work: considering how to express your opinions about products and services, to inform and develop better solutions to real-life problems.

How will you be assessed?

The course is assessed through two specific elements. There is a final exam, taken at the end of Year 11, which is based on your knowledge and understanding of the course content, which is worth 50% of the course.

The final element worth the other 50% of the course is a project where you will be designing and making your own chosen product.

What can you do with Design and Technology in the future?

The course allows you to access lots of different employment and further education opportunities, including apprenticeships in areas such as Building, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Construction, Engineering, Fashion and Textiles, Graphic Design, Information Communication Technology, Manufacturing and Planning. You may choose to go on to study at Level 3, including vocational qualifications as well as A Level Design and Technology.

There are also many exciting careers in Design, Manufacturing or Engineering require the practical and problem-solving skills that D&T provides and the demand for people in these areas of work is growing fast. As well as job satisfaction the rewards will include a good salary and good promotional prospects. The average salary for designers is growing much faster than the UK average and engineers typically earn more than the national average. Alternatively, you may decide to be an entrepreneur and start your own company or business.

What do you need to do to prepare for the course?

Visit https://www.pgonline.co.uk/ and review the course textbook.
Visit https://collins.co.uk/products/9780008227401 and look at the D&T Revision guide.

How do I find out more?

You can visit the AQA GCSE Design and Technology webpage, which can be found here:
You can also visit https://www.data.org.uk/ for more detailed information on the qualification and career routes. To view a 10-minute video entitled ‘What is D&T and why do we need it?’ go to tv.data.org.uk/news.

Need to know

GCSE D&T opens the door to a wide range of careers in the creative, engineering and manufacturing industries. It is also excellent preparation for careers in many other fields e.g., medicine, law, and computer science. Whatever career you choose, the knowledge and skills you learn, particularly those concerned with rapidly developing technologies, will be extremely valuable. You will also develop skills, such as teamwork and time management which are highly prized by employers.

D&T is a skill which involves commitment and dedication. You will need to be resilient and have a desire to succeed, both in developing practical skills and building the theoretical knowledge required for the final exam. As your portfolio carries 50% of the mark, good written and graphical communication skills including applying the knowledge gained are essential if you are going to be successful.

Student/Staff/Famous Person quote about the subject

Design and Technology is a phenomenally important subject. Logical, creative and practical, it’s the only opportunity students have to apply what they learn in Maths and Science.
Sir James Dyson Founder and Chairman of Dyson and Patron to the D&T Association